Brooks was a freshman at
Marshall University at the
time of the plane crash.
Tuesday, September 6, 2011
Remembering Blevins: Number 80 is forever 20
I can't really recall my last memory of Dennis Blevins, the junior wide receiver from
. Blevins perished along with 74 others in the Bluefield, West Virginia football plane crash. Even after all this time, the crash is still widely acknowledged as the most tragic accident in the history of sports. Marshall
Dennis excelled in every sport. In 1968, he earned Class AA All-State honors in football, basketball, and track and was offered a football scholarship to
. Had there been high school baseball at that time, Dennis would have been Marshall University in that sport as well. All- State
However, despite his achievements, Pete Wood, a terrific running back from my high school who had earned Class AAA honors, and who went on to star at West Virginia University, was named Athlete of the Year by a veteran, local sports reporter who covered high school and college sports in West Virginia. While I was both a friend and a fan of Pete on the gridiron, everyone knew that Dennis Blevins was the "real" athlete in terms of overall ability. I’m sure that Pete realized it too. Had Dennis played for Bluefield High, there's no doubt that he would have been offered scholarships to higher profile institutions.
On the evening of
November 14, 1970, I was in my dorm room listening to the radio. In the middle of a song, the announcer interrupted to deliver the sobering news that the plane believed to be carrying the Twin Towers football team had crashed while attempting to land at Marshall University . Tri-State Airport
My first thought was of Dennis. Dazed by the news, what transpired during the remainder of that evening remains a blur in my mind. Others who attended
with me and were there on that horrible night have more vivid memories. Marshall