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MU's 1992 team shares the memories

Oct. 28, 2012 @ 12:42 AM

HUNTINGTON -- As Marshall football players took their "Thunder Walk" into the stadium Saturday evening, they walked directly past a tailgate set up for the team that helped ignite the Thundering Herd's strong tradition.

The 1992 Division I-AA National Championship team was in town for a 20-year reunion.

Players such as Madison Sayre, Mike Bartrum and William King were back in town.

And, as the Herd team passed by, they got especially amped up to see a member of the 1992 team who was near and dear to their hearts -- former Marshall assistant coach Phil Ratliff.

Players swarmed Ratliff as they walked through and he pumped them up, just like what he did for years as an assistant coach.

Ratliff left after last season to join the first football staff at Charlotte, which will be a member of Conference USA in 2014.

"I've been around this area so long and to have been gone for the last six or eight months, when you get an opportunity to come back you see how special this place is and the community," Ratliff said. "It's good to see those guys walk through the walk."

The 1992 team won the school's first I-AA championship with a 31-28 victory over Youngstown State in Huntington.

Players laughed and shared stories under the tailgate tent set up on the North end of the main parking lot at Joan C. Edwards Stadium.

"We have a special bond that cannot be broken," Ratliff said. "Some of us haven't seen each other in 20 years and to see where they are and see their families, it's so great. It's great to see a good football team with good guys go on and be successful in life. That's what's great about football. It teaches lessons for life.

"It seems like it was yesterday, too. It's been 20 years, but it seems like yesterday."

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