In 1971 the tragic Southern Airways Flight 932 plane crash claimed the lives of 75 people, including Marshal University's entire varsity football team, administrators, staff, and boosters.
Following that horrific event, Jack Lengyel became head coach of the university's Thundering Herd football team, and was faced with the daunting task of rebuilding Marshal's football program from the ground up.
Forced to recruit athletes from other sports, such as baseball, basketball, and soccer, as well as allowing a large number of walk-ons in order to rebuild the devastated football program, Lengyel managed to coach the team to a win in its first home game - a stunning 15-13 victory over Xavier.
The head coach position that he held from 1971 to 1974 became one of Lengyel's greatest achievements. Looking back on that experience, he says, "I thought I was coming to rebuild a football program. It turned out the town had lost key community leaders on that plane as well."
Lengyl's efforts, and successes at Marshal University, provided the inspiration for the 2006 movie, "We Are Marshal," which starred Matthew McConaughey.
On Monday, Nov. 7 at 7 p.m., Mr. Lengyel will be a guest speaker at Penn State Worthington Scranton, in The View Café, in the campus' Study Learning Center. This event is free and open to the entire campus community, as well as to the general public.
For more information, call the Student Activities office at 963-2700.