Civitas News Service
CHAPMANVILLE - The Marshall University Thundering Herd coaches caravan roared into southern West Virginia on Wednesday as they made their annual trek to the Logan Country Club near Chapmanville.
Marshall University had its annual Big Green Golf Scramble and luncheon at the Logan Country Club in Chapmanville on Wednesday afternoon.
Local Marshall Alumnus David Dean organized the event. Dean, a local real estate agent, played football for the Thundering Herd back in the 1990s.
The luncheon and golf outing was a sold out event. Local WVOW radio personality Dave Allen served as the master of ceremonies.
Marshall University Athletic Director Mike Hamrick, also a MU graduate, told the crowd about all of the projects the Herd athletic department has going on.
Currently an indoor practice facility, which will include a 120 yard indoor football field and an indoor running track with six lanes, is already under construction. The new $8 million soccer facility should be finished by this fall. There will also be a new Hall of Fame room at the practice facility. A new level of suites will be added to Joan C. Edwards Football Stadium in the near future.
Work on four new skybox-level suites at the football field is ready to get underway in the next few weeks. The $3 million project will add four 24-seat suites to the top level of the stadium press box.
Hamrick also said that a new baseball field is the next priority for Marshall.
Hamrick, a graduate of Herbert Hoover High School, who played football for the Herd in the mid-1970s, talked about his years with the program. The seasons during the 1970s were tough for the Herd. The program had to be rebuilt after the horrendous plane crash in 1970 that took the lives of the entire team, coaching staff and several boosters.
Hamrick is the person who made Kelly green the official color for MU athletics. In the past the teams used a variety of the color green, such as forest green and others. Now all of the teams and sports apparel sold to fans is Kelly green.
Hamrick was also responsible for getting famous alumni like former NFL quarterback Chad Pennington and NBA coach Mike D’antoni involved in a fund raising effort to help build the new facilities for the sports programs at the Huntington school. Greenbrier resort owner Jim Justice is another MU alumnus who recently made a huge $5 million contribution to his alma mater.
“Chad and Mike have done a wonderful job as co-chairs of the Vision Campaign, and I personally want to thank them for their efforts and support,” Hamrick said.
Hamrick stated that there is currently $33 million worth of new athletic facilities being added to Marshall University.
“This will help our coaches and university, “ Hamrick said. “The support we get from communities like Logan are so important to our programs.”
“That progress is overwhelmingly encouraging, but there’s much more work to do in the Vision Campaign, “ Hamrick stated.
Retiring Logan County Superintendent of Schools Wilma Zigmond was presented with a special award during the luncheon. She received both her Bachelor’s Degree and her Master’s Degree at Marshall. Her official biography was read by the MC Dave Allen. Fellow MU grad and close friend Raimie Barker “roasted” Zigmond, but praised her work in education as a teacher, principal and county administrator.
Barker said he has known Zigmond since the 7th grade and the two shared a long friendship. After she received her awards, Zigmond spoke to the crowd. She then received a standing ovation.
Other Marshall alumni in the audience that were pointed out were Hall of Fame basketball player Jim Davidson, former football player Ron Lemon and others. Lemon was one of the first who played at Marshall after the plane crash.
Marshall head coaches Doc Holliday (football), Tom Herrion (basketball) and Shonda Stanton (softball) each spoke briefly to the crowd during the luncheon. (Watch for more stories in future editions of this newspaper with comments from each of the coaches about their programs.)
The event was sponsored by the Logan Regional Medical Center, the Logan Area Marshall Athletic Club and several other local businesses.