Saturday, November 19, 2011

Retrospect: Remembering Marshall football tragedy

By Keri Brown
       Last Monday marked the 41st anniversary of a plane crash near the Tri-State Airport in Huntington, West Virginia, that killed 75 people, including most of Marshall University's varsity football team. Winston-Salem (NC) resident Craig T. Greenlee will never forget November 14, 1970. He was a student on campus and got to know many of the players and staff when he was a safety on Marshall University's football team during the 1968 and 1969 seasons.
Keri Brown
       Greenlee lost his best friend in the crash, Scottie Reese, a football player from Waco, Texas.
"So many people were touched by it whether you went to school there or not. Ladies lost boyfriends that night. I lost my best friend who was on the plane that night. There was no such thing as an athletic dorm as we know it today.  Back then, they were scattered (living in different dorms)," said Greenlee.
       The 2006 movie We are Marshall brought the tragedy to the big screen. But Greenlee said the Hollywood version fails to capture the stories of tragedy and triumph that followed many students like him. He is now a freelance sports writer in the Triad and is a substitute teacher. He said the untold stories on campus inspired him to write a book about the disaster —November Ever After.
       "There's a chapter in the book where I talk about some African-American students, who, through the help of some ministers in the city, chartered a bus,” said Greenlee. “They attended as many funerals as they could and they wound up going to a wake and three funerals for seven players in the span five days and covered around 1,500 miles.”
       To listen to audio of this interview go to WFDD 88.5-FM News

Keri Brown is a reporter/host for 88.5 WFDD, the NPR® news and Triad Arts station broadcasting from Wake Forest University (NC). WFDD broadcasts news, information, and public affairs programming to 32 counties from both its Winston-Salem and Greensboro studios.

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