Matthew McConaughey took a look back at one of the most tragic events in sports and American history. The Academy Award-winning actor went to Instagram to post a photo of himself in the film We Are Marshall. This past weekend, Marshall University paid tribute to the 75 victims who died in a plane crash 50 years ago. The victims included 36 football players and 39 school administrators, coaches, fans, spouses and flight crew, according to the Associated Press.
"50 years. Never forget. Never defeated. We Are Marshall," McConaughey wrote in his Instagram post. McConaughey also shared the link of the Memorial Fountain Ceremony, which took place on Saturday (Nov. 14), the same day of the plane crash in 1970. One of the victims was Charlie E. Kautz, the school's athletic director. His daughter, Lucianne Kautz Call who was a cheerleader at Marshall, was the keynote speaker at the ceremony.
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"We each lost one or more family members," Call said. "From that moment, we became one family." We Are Marshall tells the story of the Marshall football program being rebuilt. McConaughey stars as Jack Lengyel, Marshall's new head coach who does what he can to bring football back to the community. The film also stars Matthew Fox, Anthony Mackie, January Jones, Kate Mara, and Kimberly Williams-Paisley.
Lengyel was the head coach of Marshall from 1971-1974. He went on to be an athletic director for various colleges including Missouri, Colorado and Navy. As for Marshall, the football team had its share of struggles in the 1970s and 1980s. However, things began to turn around in the late 1980s, winning 10 games for the first time in school history in 1987. That was the same year the Thundering Herd reached the Division 1-AA National Championship game but lost to Northeast Louisiana.
Things would only get better for Marshall, winning the national title in 1992 and again in 1996. The Thundering Herd then moved up in college football, joining the Mid American Conference of Division 1-A (now called FBS) in 1997. They joined Conference USA in 2005, which has been their home ever since. Last year, Marshall finished with an 8-5 record and lost to UCF in the Gasparilla Bowl. This year, the Thundering Herd are undefeated with a 7-0 record with three games remaining.