UT Volunteers to come to Huntington in 2009

HUNTINGTON, WV -- Marshall University Director of Athletics Lance West made a monumental announcement Friday with regard to future Thundering Herd football scheduling.

"We are pleased to announce that we have signed a two-for-one contract with the University of Tennessee that will bring the Volunteers to Marshall University Stadium for the 2009 season opener," West said. The contract, which adds to an existing deal for a single game with Tennessee already slated for 2006, calls for Marshall to visit Tennessee's Neyland Stadium for games in 2003 and 2010. The 2009 game will mark the first visit to Huntington by a Southeastern Conference team since 1905, when Kentucky played Marshall College in Huntington. Marshall has played a total of 11 games in history against SEC schools, nine on the road, one in a bowl game and one at home. Future Marshall football schedules, including the 2001 season-opener at Florida, now include seven games against Southeastern Conference opponents. In addition to the four games with Tennessee the Herd is slated to play at LSU in 2003 and at Georgia in 2004. "We are extremely excited to have a former national champion and a national power with a great football tradition coming to Huntington," Marshall coach Bob Pruett said. "This is just another example of the commitment we have to advancing our program. We are not afraid to play anyone. We just want to continue to give our fans in the state of West Virginia the best and most exciting football we can possibly give them." The dates for the three games added to the existing contract with Tennessee are Sept. 6, 2003, Sept. 5, 2009 and Sept. 4, 2010. The two teams will meet in a previously scheduled game on Sept. 23, 2006. In addition to hosting the Volunteers, Marshall and the Mid-American Conference will provide the game officials for the 2010 game in Knoxville. Game officials for the first three games in the contract will be provided by the SEC. The two schools also agreed upon providing the visiting school with 8,000 tickets in each of the four games in the series. "This is a contract of truly historical significance for the football program at Marshall University," West said. "Much credit is owed to Coach Pruett and David Steele, our Associate Director of Athletics, for their hard work in making this contract a reality." Mid-American Conference records show that league schools have hosted SEC schools in football games only four times in history. In addition to the Marshall-Kentucky game in 1905, Miami hosted the Wildcats in 1911 and 1920 and Northern Illinois hosted Vanderbilt in 1997.

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