Marshall University President Stephen J. Kopp has designated this Saturday's Marshall-Kansas State football game as Bobby Pruett Day. Prior to the kickoff at the stadium, a major announcement concerning the latest honor for the former Thundering Herd coach will be made.
"Bobby Pruett is not only someone who was very involved in moving Marshall up in terms of national recognition in football, he also contributed – and continues to contribute – a great deal to the Huntington community," Kopp said. "He has a compassion for young people that extends well beyond athletics. I know he's been involved with our autism program at Marshall and with other activities involving children in the community. Bobby Pruett has always been a great ambassador for Marshall University."
Pruett, who retired this past spring, is Marshall's all-time winningest head football coach. The Beckley native led Marshall to an impressive 94-23 record over his nine seasons as head coach. He guided Marshall to the 1996 I-AA National Championship, five Mid-American Conference Championships, and seven bowl berths. Director of Athletics Bob Marcum said he is sure Thundering Herd fans will enjoy the special tribute to Pruett. "This honor will stand in recognition of his outstanding achievements at Marshall and this is something that our fans will not want to miss," Marcum said.
Marshall will also honor former receiver Mike Barber, who played for the Herd from 1985-88 and was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in South Bend, Indiana, earlier this summer. Barber helped the Herd to its first appearance in the I-AA National Championship in 1987, when Barber set a MU record with 106 receptions for 1,757 yards. Barber returned in 1988 to lead MU to its first Southern Conference title, a second consecutive I-AA playoff run and his second first team All-American honor. Barber was also named the I-AA National Player that year by the American Football Coaches Association.
Still the leader in MU and SC history with 4,262 yards receiving in his career, Barber is third at MU with 249 career receptions which came in only three seasons. He is also third in touchdown catches and averaged nearly 90 yards in all-purpose yards per game in his career, amassing 4,466 all-purpose yards (eighth all-time at MU). Barber's 22 100-yard plus receiving games is also the all-time best at MU. Barber lives in Teays Valley near Winfield, W.Va., where he was All-State as a high school quarterback for the Generals before winning three-time All-SC first team honors at MU.
Marshall's ticket office will be open Monday, September 5 on Labor Day, to help fans pick up tickets for this week's game. Over 29,000 have been sold so far for the 38,000 seats in Edwards Stadium. Call 1-800 THE HERD or go to www.herdzone.com for ticket information for this and the rest of MU's schedule, including the first home Conference USA game on October 1 with SMU. Homecoming is October 15 with the UAB Blazers of C-USA coming to town. Southern Miss is in on Tuesday, November 8, for another ESPN2 game for the two C-USA East Division foes first meeting while East Carolina will renew its rivalry with MU on November 19. It will be the first meeting for the Pirates and the Herd since the 2001 GMAC Bowl, which the Herd won 64-61 in double-overtime after trailing 8-38 at half. It will also be exactly 35 years and five days since the MU football charter plane crashed returning from ECU after the game in 1970.