HUNTINGTON -- Had Ted Shoebridge lived, he would now be 64 years old, and long since retired from a playing career in the NFL or major league baseball.
At least that's the opinion of Shoebridge's brother, Tom, who will be the featured speaker at this year's annual Memorial Service to honor the 75 victims of the 1970 Marshall University plane crash.
The service, sponsored by Marshall's Student Government Association, starts at noon Friday, Nov. 14, on the Memorial Student Center plaza on the university's Huntington campus. That day marks the 44th anniversary of the worst sports tragedy in U.S. history.
Ted Shoebridge, a junior from Lyndhurst, New Jersey, was among the victims of the crash, which claimed the lives of 36 players from the team. Also killed were nine coaches and members of the athletic staff, 25 fans and the jetliner's crew of five.
Gone in an instant were the hopes and dreams of 75 people, including Ted Shoebridge.
"I firmly believe he would have played professional sports -- football or baseball," said Tom Shoebridge of his brother. "He was an outstanding baseball player. I watched the tapes of his last year of football at Marshall, and I evaluated him as a player."
The plane carrying the Marshall University football team home from its game at East Carolina University earlier in the afternoon of Nov. 14 crashed in Kenova near Tri-State Airport -- just 45 minutes after taking off from Stallings Field at the Kinston Airport in North Carolina.
The plane, flying in light rain with poor visibility, clipped a tree 66 feet above the ground on a ridge just west of West Virginia Route 75, tumbled while cutting a 95-foot swath across the hillside and slammed into the hillside on the east side of the highway at a speed of 160 miles per hour. Everyone aboard the Southern Airways DC-9 died instantly.
"I was 17 years old at the time. It was a very hard time, to say the least," said Tom Shoebridge. "My Mom and Dad kept everything. They (Marshall) sent us his travel bag, his jerseys and his helmet."
On the Web
A site at www.Herald-Dispatch.com is full of information about the 1970 plane crash:
Original game stories and rosters of the 1970 and '71 teams.
Photo galleries of the teams, Fairfield Stadium and more.
Biographical information about the victims.
Stories about Jack Lengyel, Nate Ruffin and Red Dawson.
A history of Marshall football.
Coverage of the filming of the 2006 movie "We Are Marshall."
A guestbook for visitors to share their thoughts and memories about the teams.
Visit www.Herald-Dispatch.com, click on Sports then Marshall Plane Crash.