Penn State Worthington Scranton hosts legendary football coach

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.

Lengyel will give a presentation discussing the rebuilding after this tragedy at 7 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 7, in The View Cafe, in the Study Learning Center on the Penn State Worthington Scranton campus. The event is free and open to the public.

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 said, “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.”

Lengyel’s efforts, and successes at Marshal University, provided the inspiration for the 2006 movie, “We Are Marshal,” which starred Matthew McConaughey.

For more information, call the Student Activities office at 570-963-2700.

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Last Updated January 09, 2015