Ferrum College Continues Its Tradition of Memorializing the “Marshall 8”
The recently completed Hank Norton Athletic Center includes
facilities named in memory of eight Ferrum Junior College football team
FERRUM, Va. (June 20, 2012) For more than forty years,
Ferrum College has honored the memory of the “Marshall 8,” who include
seven members of the College’s 1968 National Junior College Athletic
Association (NJCAA) National Championship Team, as well as late Marshall
University Head Coach Rick Tolley, who previously served at the College
as Hank Norton’s assistant football coach.
Along with Coach Tolley, '68 NJCAA National Championship team members
Thomas W. Brown, David D. Griffith, Patrick J. Norrell, James R.
Patterson, Arthur K. Shannon, Jerry D. Stainback, Jr. and Thomas J.
Zborill perished in a November 1970 plane crash that claimed the lives
of 75 people including the Marshall University football team, coaching
staff and fans.
“That terrible tragedy will always be a part of all of the guys on the
'68 team. We went through a lot in '68 and ended up undefeated National
Champions,” said '68 team member John Cougill '69. “We were a very close
team. The crash was a devastating time for all of us.”
Ferrum College established a number of significant reminders of the “Marshall 8”, including The Big Green Award,
which since fall 1971 has been given annually to a senior Panther
football player who best demonstrates the qualities of courage, hustle,
and desire as a role model for his fellow teammates. The College also
memorialized the “Marshall 8” by naming its weight room The Big Green Room. In 1994, the College inducted the “Marshall 8” into its Alumni Sports Hall of Fame Inaugural Class.
With the opening of the new Hank Norton Athletic Center, the College
continues its tradition of memorializing the “Marshall 8.” Formerly
located in Swartz Gymnasium, The Big Green Room now makes its home in the Norton Center and a plaque recognizing the “Marshall 8” hangs in the Norton Center’s Hall of Fame.
"I was given the honor and challenge to chair the Ferrum College Sports
Hall of Fame in its inaugural year,” said Dan Danko '69, who was also a
member of the '68 National Championship team. “The Hank Norton
Athletic Center represents a place to honor the memory of the ‘Marshall
8’ and all athletes who have excelled in hard work and dedication while
at Ferrum College."
In addition to these well-established remembrances, the Norton Center’s
football locker room is named after Coach Tolley and his portrait
adorns the locker room’s entrance wall. Also, a special plaque hangs in
the head football coach’s office that includes a photo of each of the
“Marshall 8” as well as their '68 National Championship rings.
“Dedicating the head football coach’s office to the ‘Marshal 8’ was a
great way to memorialize our teammates. It has helped many of us come to
terms with the loss we have felt for so many years,” said Cougill, who
together with fellow '68 teammate Howard Smith '69 hit upon the idea of
naming the head coach’s office as they discussed ways to permanently
remember their lost teammates and friends on the College campus and help
build the Norton Center.
“The ‘Marshall 8’ are a significant part of Ferrum College’s football
history,” said Head Football Coach Dave Harper, who is the first to
occupy the newly dedicated office. “It is important to remember the role
they played at the College and to maintain their legacy for both our
new recruits and our returning players this fall and in the years to
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About Ferrum College: Ferrum College is a
four-year, private, co-educational, liberal arts college related to the
United Methodist Church. Ferrum offers a choice of nationally
recognized bachelor's degree programs at a cost well below the national
average for private colleges.