Thursday, November 12, 2015

Part II: “Plane crash was a defining moment ..”

This bronze memorial, erected in 2000, honors those who perished in the crash.
Mickey Jackson is a Marshall graduate
who was also a star running back for the
Thundering Herd in the mid-1960s.
Editor's Note: Here is the second installment of a three-part series about the 1970 Marshall University plane crash. On a dreadful night nearly 45 years ago, the Thundering Herd's plane crashed on its return trip from a road game at East Carolina. Everyone aboard – 75 people in all – lost their lives. In today's entry, Mickey Jackson gives a straight-to-the-point synopsis of how the plane crash affected him personally. He was Marshall's  running backs coach in 1970. Jackson was out of town on a scouting assignment the weekend of the crash, so he was not on the plane. In the aftermath of the tragedy, he stayed on as an assistant coach and helped with the rebuilding of the program (1971-73). After leaving MU, Jackson joined the staff at Ohio State where he coached running back Archie Griffin, the only player in college football history to win the Heisman Trophy twice (1974-75).

The plane crash was a defining moment in my life. It was a defining moment for the University and the Huntington (West Virginia) community as well. 

That moment is one that none of us will ever forget and not want to forget.

The tragedy removed these words from my vocabulary:
* I quit.
* I can't.
* I give up!

Those words were replaced with the quiet voice of courage, persistence and determination. My commitment to help rebuild the football program and move forward in life required perseverance in taking small steps daily to achieve long term success.

We will always honor and pay tribute to the memory of those who we all miss so dearly.

Mickey Jackson


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