Twenty Five years ago, Marshall fans around the country were reading about spring practices and getting ready to plan a late summer trip to Huntington to watch the Herd take on New Hampshire. One thing was a little different this time around. Instead of just a little over 15,000 fans making plans, this time around over 28,000 fans were making plans.
Five years earlier, governor Arch Moore announced that the school would be building a new football stadium. Ye Olde Fairfield was done, it was a rickety old stadium that was literally falling apart and at one point actually had a section of it condemned.
It had been quite some time since Marshall fans had walked into a new stadium, sure, Fairfield had a few renovations over the years, but it had been 63 years since fans had gotten a brand new stadium. This stadium would be a little different. Huge steel and concrete structures with sky boxes, ready for TV wiring, a facility building, large scoreboard, expansive parking lots ready for RV parking and tailgating just to name a few.
Sixty three years prior to that, Fairfield Stadium opened. Game days were a lot different. Herald Dispatch writer Dave Wellman wrote about it prior to the new stadium opening in 1991. He wrote about that opening game. He said, “All games were played on artificial turf, a fan could get into the game, buy a game program, two hot dogs and a drink and still have change left over from a dollar. Parking wasn’t a problem as very few people even had cars back in 1928, and even fewer drove them to football games.”
10,000 fans attended that first game as Marshall beat Fairmont 27 – 0. Wellman went on to say that the stadium was funded by donations, and cost $200,000 to be built. He wrote that one fan named Hartzell Frick gave a donation of $25 and was given two lifetime passes to games because of that donation.
My how times have changed.
Prior to the opening game at the stadium, the Herald Dispatch put out an insert in the paper. Inside the paper they published the Marshall “Dream Team,” as voted on by its readers. Below is a list of that dream team, and the years in which they won letters in football for the Herd.
Running Back – Jackie Hunt – 1938, 1939, 1940, 1941
Running Back – Ron Lear - 1981
Mickey Jackson – 1964, 1965, 1966
Running Back – Ron Darby – 1986 - 1989
Quarterback - Tony Petersen - 1987
Wide Receiver – Mike Barber – 1985 - 1988
Wide Receiver – Fuzzy Filliez – 1973 - 1976
Tight End – Sean Doctor - 1987, 1988
Left Tackle – Frank Gatski – 1941, 1942
Left Guard- Greg Adkins – 1987 - 1989
Center- Sam Manos – 1984 - 1986
Right Guard – Sam Clagg – 1940 - 1942
Right Tackle- Charlie Snyder – 1946, 1947
Place Kicker – Dewey Klein – 1988 - 1991
Defensive End – Cecil Fletcher – 1985 - 1987
Defensive Tackle – Bill Winter – 1962 - 1964
Defensive Tackle – Wayne Underwood - 1938
Defensive End – Norm Willey – 1947 - 1949
Linebacker- Tom Good – 1963 - 1965
Linebacker – John Spellacy – 1986 - 1988
Linebacker – Terry Echols – 1981 - 1983
Cornerback – Larry Coyer – 1962 - 1964
Cornerback – Carl Lee – 1979 - 1982
Safety – Reggie Giles – 1986 - 1988
Safety – Mark Snyder - 1987
Punter – Bob Eshbaugh - 1971 - 1974
How many of those players would still be on a “Dream Team” listed now, in 2016, just a quarter of a century later. That should show fans just how far this program has risen in the past 15 seasons.
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