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Big Green Banquet set April 26

Apr. 20, 2013 @ 11:45 AM

HUNTINGTON -- Change is in the air for the 35th Big Green Banquet.

The fundraiser for the Big Green Scholarship Foundation at Marshall University will take place at a different venue, moving to Cam Henderson Center from the student recreational center, and the time-honored tradition of bringing back celebrated athletes has been tweaked a bit.

This year's banquet is Friday, April 26 beginning at 7 p.m.

Individual tickets are $80, with proceeds going to athletic scholarships. Limited seating is still available. For tickets, or for more information, call 304-696-3385.

Don't worry, former Thundering Herd greats Chad Pennington and Vinny Curry will be in the house. And former football players Omar Brown and Albert McClellan, who were members of the 2013 NFL Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens, will be in attendance and will be honored by the foundation.

But this year the Big Green is also going to turn its focus to current athletes and feature their stories.

"We changed it up, and we're going to do a salute to excellence of our student athletes who are here now," said Big Green assistant director of athletic development Travis Epling. "We went to all of the coaches and said give us a good story, give us a good athlete, and each nominated a couple of kids and we narrowed it down from there."

The Big Green did short documentaries on the chosen athletes, in what Epling described as "kind of an ESPN 30-for-30 style" that talk about the athletes and their time at Marshall and what they've gained from their experience as scholarship athletes.

From football, twin brothers Blake and Eric Frohnapfel will be featured, while Kaley Gregory from the swim team will be featured. Others include Leslie Thomas, a cross country runner and 2012 Miss Marshall, and golfer Nathan Kerns.

The dinner will also include a performance from Dan Dunn, who has been a fixture at athletic and other events over the past few years.

Dunn is a "paint-jammer," who was booked at the recommendation of Pennington.

"He's a type of speed-painter," Epling said. "He starts with this huge blank canvas and this music comes on and he's throwing paint everywhere and you have no idea what it is, and at the last minute he turns it around and it's the Mona Lisa."

Epling said Dunn will be painting Marshall athletic-themed pieces.

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