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HUNTINGTON — Despite the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent campus shutdown, Marshall University celebrated the rebirth of the Thundering Herd’s football program during the annual spring fountain ceremony Saturday.

The Memorial Fountain was turned on during a virtual ceremony, which people could view across various athletic department and school social media accounts.

Marshall’s director of athletics, Mike Hamrick, said Saturday’s ceremony celebrated the university’s commitment to continuing its football program, noting the significance of this year’s 50th anniversary of the crash on Nov. 14, 1970.

“Marshall could have gone one of two ways — they could have discontinued football, or they could have brought it back,” Hamrick said. “Marshall made the right decision, and I applaud those people who made that decision to bring the football program back.”

The Memorial Fountain on Marshall’s campus is turned on annually during the ceremony, which is typically different in tone from the annual ceremony held Nov. 14, the anniversary of the Southern Airways flight that crashed on that date in 1970. The tragedy killed all 75 people on board, including 37 members of the Thundering Herd football team.

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