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Coach Considers Using Crash Parts

March 30, 2002

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (AP) _ Two Marshall football fans and coach Bob Pruett want to use pieces of a crashed airplane that 32 years ago decimated the university’s football program as a good luck charm.

The two fans, Millard Robertson of Huntington and Ric Griffith, city council president of Kenova, have saved four pieces of the plane that went down in Huntington on Nov. 14, 1970, killing 75 Marshall football players, coaches and supporters.

Now they want to encase the fuselage pieces in glass and have them used in a ritual ceremony at Marshall home games.

Griffith told WOWK-TV he wants to establish a tradition where Marshall players touch the plane pieces as they enter the field.

He cited similar stadium traditions where Notre Dame players touch a ``Play Like a Champion Today″ sign and Clemson players touch Howard’s Rock.

``As they enter the field the fans will know that they are touching and having a personal link to the people from that crash,″ Griffith said.

Pruett he likes the idea.

``I don’t think there would be another event in all of college sports that would have the emotion or meaning that this tradition could have,″ he said. ``I think it’s another step toward closure and another step toward honoring those great players.″

Robertson found the plane pieces three days after the accident on a hillside near the crash site. He saved them for 12 years, then gave them to his friend, Griffith, who has kept them safe since.

``I remember it like it was last night,″ Robertson said. ``I never thought it would go this far, but I’m glad it did.″

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