Jefferson Bradley Workman Added To MU HOF

Marshall added its 144th member to the prestigious MU Athletic Hall Of Fame on Tuesday, April 27, when former baseball and football player Jefferson Bradley "Brad" Workman was this year's selection in the now annual "Old-Timers" category (players who participated in Marshall athletics prior to 1950). Workman, who played baseball and football at Marshall College between 1914 and 1919, is the first new member of the Hall Of Fame's 20th Anniversary class.

The initial inductions for the Hall were back in 1984 and the rest of the 20th Anniversary Class of the MU Athletic Hall Of Fame will be announced in May of 2004.

Workman was the third of three athletic brothers and his two older brothers played for the Ohio State Buckeyes. Workman, who played scholastically at Huntington High School, is best remembered in the Marshall history books as the quarterback for the Herd in the famous "Tower Pass" against West Virginia University on November 6, 1915. It was, to date, the only game in the series (5-0, in favor of the Mountaineers) played in Huntington. WVU, who would finish 5-2-1 for 1915, and had a record of 1-1-1 entering the game while Marshall was 0-5 on the year, shutout in four of five games. West Virginia's coach, Sol Metzger, had shut Marshall out 20-0 in the first meeting in Morgantown in 1914 and predicted the Green and White would not dent the scoreboard this year, or "he would eat his hat," according to former Huntington sportswriter Fred Burns in the book "Marshall University: An Institution Comes Of Age" by Dr. Charles H. Moffat, long-time chairman of the MU History Department. In that book, Moffat describes Workman as "indeed, one of the great passers and runners in the nation."

The betting line for the Marshall-West Virginia game confirmed Metzger's prediction, with heavy action by Mountaineer fans on another shutout…except in Huntington, where the town boys got wind of something being up at the Marshall practices. Marshall coach Boyd Chambers (inducted into the Marshall HOF last year) was not called "The Fox" without reason. Chambers had designed a play he believed was sure to score, if only Marshall got close enough to use the play. WVU was up three touchdowns when Workman led a Marshall drive, completing five consecutive passes to move the Green and White to the WVU 15-yard line. Workman barked out signals and back-pedaled to pass as Mountaineer defenders crashed the line. Marshall running back Dayton "Runt" Carter and tackle Okey "Blondie" Taylor quietly slipped to the end line, by the "H-shaped" goalposts of the era and once there, the giant tackle boosted the smallish back onto his shoulders.

Workman threw the pass to Carter, "towering" on Taylor's shoulders above the stunned Mountaineers secondary, and although Moffat's book described the pass as, "the ball seemed to hang in the air for an eternity," Carter caught the pigskin and fell into the end zone to score six points for the underdog Marshall squad. Metzger, to no avail, had a long and loud discussion with officials, who could find nothing in the rulebook to disallow the touchdown and the score stood, as the 3,000 or so mostly Marshall fans roared their approval from the stands and sidelines at the Marshall Campus Field (located on the site of today's MU Science Building, on Third Avenue) Metzger was so outraged that he had his team run up the score on Marshall and finally won 92-6, the most points scored in a win in West Virginia history, but many Huntingtonians collected from WVU fans on Marshall's score to avert the shutout. The play was so successful that Marshall and Workman used it again to prevent a shutout two weeks later at Ohio University in an 18-7 loss. West Virginia and Ohio officials appealed the play to the "father of college football rules" and former Yale coach, Walter Camp. Camp could find no rule stopping Marshall from legally using the play in the 1915 season, although he did mandate a change to prevent "stacking" of players for the 1916 season.

Captain of that 1915 team, Workman helped Marshall to a win in the season finale, finishing 1-7 on the year, beating Kentucky Wesleyan by 61-7. In Workman's sophomore season of 1914, Marshall had posted a 5-4 record (the first nine game season in school history). Workman and the Herd both had a big year in 1916, when Marshall rebounded to post a 7-2-1 mark. The Herd quarterback had a monster year, scoring a then-school record 15 touchdowns. He tallied five scores in leading Marshall to the still biggest win in school history that same year, 101-0, at home against hapless Kentucky Wesleyan (and teammate Wilbur Fisher had six touchdowns that same day). Workman's 90 points for the season were just over one-third of the total of 267 points scored by Marshall that season, the first time Marshall had ever topped 200 points scored in a season. Workman and the Herd were 13-13-1 over those three seasons.

Workman also played outfield for the Herd baseball team in 1915-16-17, helping the team to 14-6, 17-12 and 5-3 marks over those three years (with a combined record of 36-21 over those years). The 17 wins in 1916 would stand as a Marshall school record until 1968. Workman would graduate in 1917 with his teaching certificate from Marshall College, the state Normal School (Normal schools were charged with graduating secondary school teachers, from a two-year, post-high school program). Many men were called to duty in 1918 as America joined World War I in war-torn Europe, but nearly as many were laid low by the international flu epidemic, which raged from 1917 (Marshall would have only 17 players on the 1-7-1 football team) and into 1918.

Workman may have returned to take classes in the 1919, post-war era, as Marshall College was finally granted full status as a four-year, degree-granting institution early in 1920 by the West Virginia Legislature and would award its first four-year degrees in 1921; or he may just have re-joined the team in 1919, as the rules for eligibility were rarely enforced until Marshall and other state colleges joined the West Virginia Athletic Conference in 1925; but in any case, Workman returned for one more year of Marshall football and, boy, what a year! Marshall, bolstered by the return of many men from WWI and a new coach in Archer Reilly, posted the first undefeated, untied season in school history at 8-0 (Marshall has had only two other undefeated and untied years since, coming under current head coach Bobby Pruett in 1996/15-0 and 1999/13-0). Workman and his teammates helped set another new record for scoring points at Marshall that year, recording 302 points on the season (a record until Cam Henderson's 1936 team scored 314 points, in 10 games) and giving up only 13 total points to the opponents. Marshall shutout the first five opponents and six of eight teams they played for the 1919 season.

As is the problem with many of the Hall of Fame members elected from the early days of Marshall athletics, no one knows if Jefferson Bradley "Brad" Workman has any relatives in the Tri-State area or elsewhere. The Marshall Athletic Hall Of Fame committee (Sam Clagg, Joe Feaganes, Linda Holmes, Ralph May, Willard Hunter, Dot Hicks, Greg Rowsey, Keith Morehouse, Mickey Jackson and Woody Woodrum) would like to have family members attend the induction banquet, scheduled for Friday, October 19, at the Don Morris Room of the Marshall Memorial Student Center, and participate in other events for Hall of Fame members on Homecoming Weekend at MU, including the Buffalo-Marshall game on October 20 at 4:30 p.m. $20.00 tickets for the 6:30 p.m. Friday dinner can be purchased from the Marshall Athletic Ticket Office in the lobby of the Cam Henderson Center, beginning in June of 2004, or by calling 304-696-4373 and 1-800-843-4373.

If you have any information on Workman's family, please contact Woody Woodrum at (304) 523-8401, extension 121, or e-mail Woodrum at woodywoodrum@hotmail.com with any information on Brad Workman or any relatives of the Workman family.

The initial class inducted into the Marshall University Athletic Hall Of Fame twenty years ago and last year they each lettered (football players only inducted in the Fall of 1984 and 1985, except for Cam Henderson who coached three sports; men's basketball only in Spring of 1985 and 1986; first All-Sports Class, with both men and women, inducted in Fall of 1986): Bob Adkins (1939); Jim Cure (1964); Tom Good (1965); Cam Henderson (1935-55/Athletic Director and Coach of baseball, basketball and football); Jackie Hunt (1941); Reggie Oliver (1973); Jim Pearcy (1941); Tom Stark (1930-also played baseball and basketball); and John Zontini (1935-also played baseball).


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