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The Parthenon

Herd football alumni return home

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Brian Swisher (left) and Don Johnson pose for a photo during Marshall football’s season opening win against the Miami (Ohio) RedHawks at 
Joan C. Edwards Stadium Saturday, Sept. 2.

Brian Swisher (left) and Don Johnson pose for a photo during Marshall football’s season opening win against the Miami (Ohio) RedHawks at Joan C. Edwards Stadium Saturday, Sept. 2.

Sandy Johnson | WMUL-FM

Sandy Johnson | WMUL-FM

Brian Swisher (left) and Don Johnson pose for a photo during Marshall football’s season opening win against the Miami (Ohio) RedHawks at Joan C. Edwards Stadium Saturday, Sept. 2.

Brooke Griffin, Reporter

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The Thundering Herd football team kicked off its season against Miami University (Ohio) this past Saturday with a 31-26 win. What many people didn’t know was that some of Marshall’s most respected players were in the stands, not on the field.

If someone were to look around the Joan C. Edwards stadium during any Saturday night home football game, all they would see is a mass of green and white.

“I’m Marshall, I’m green through and through,” said Brian Swisher, a player on the first winning team after the plane crash.

Football in Huntington has evolved since the tragic plane crash of 1970 and the Herd fan base has only gotten stronger over the past 47 years.

“It’s amazing how the whole city has changed and embraced Marshall University,” Swisher said.

Swisher and fellow Thundering Herd teammate Don Johnson both hold a sense of pride in the university that most will never understand.

“It kind of makes you proud knowing that you were one of the building blocks from the beginning when things were just really bad,” Johnson said. “Proud that you were part of the lineage of what’s occurring right now.”

Johnson said he had not been to a Marshall football game in 30 years, so being back in the stadium Saturday was incredibly special.

Swisher, the wide receiver on the team that had the weight of the world on its shoulders, said being on the Thundering Herd changed his life.

“Being a part of something much bigger than me,” Swisher said. “You know this community and this town and this school was much bigger than anything I could have been.”

Marshall football has five remaining home games on its 2017 schedule and players from all eras can be seen in the stands and on the sidelines.

The next home game for the Herd is against former Mid-American Conference foe Kent State on Saturday, Sept. 16 at 6:30 p.m.

Brooke Griffin can be contacted at [email protected]

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