Campbellsville University Honors Legendary ‘We Are Marshall’ Coach; Kicks off Athletics Campaign
Jack Lengyel speaks to the Tiger football team at breakfast Sept. 26. (Campbellsville University Photo by Richard RoBards)
Campbellsville University’s face to the outside world, athletics, is ever changing. In 2006, a new name was given to the CU football stadium – Ron Finley Stadium. Now, the Tigers are preparing for another change to the gridiron – synthetic turf and lights. The campaign will also put lights on the CU baseball field.
Former Marshall University head coach Jack Lengyel, who helped rebuild the Marshall football program in the 1970s, visited CU Sept. 25 to help kickoff the $1.2 million campaign.
The dinner also marked the 38th anniversary of the Young Thundering Herd’s first victory since Marshall lost its varsity football team, coaches, boosters, athletic director and prominent community members in a November 1970 plane crash. The Sept. 25, 1971 win, 15-13 over Xavier University, is the climactic point in the 2006 movie “We Are Marshall.”
CU president Dr. Michael V. Carter was excited to have Lengyel on campus, feeling a personal connection to the 1970 Marshall community. Carter was was a high school junior, living in the Huntington, W.Va. area, when the crash occurred. He remembers driving to the airport that night trying to find out what had happened. He later attended Marshall when Lengyel was coach.
“This has been a very emotional visit for me,” Carter said. “It is a great honor for us to host Coach Lengyel. He is a person with a great heart and belief in the human spirit. He sees the possible and works to overcome the problems that come with any challenge. He is one of the most inspiring leaders I have ever watched and known over the years.”
Dr. Michael V. Carter presents Jack Lengyel with the Campbellsville University Leadership Award. (Campbellsville University Photo by Richard RoBards)
One of the things Lengyel said he sees possible at CU is a quick completion to the first stage of the More Than a Game athletics campaign, which athletic director Rusty Hollingsworth introduced at the dinner.
“The More Than a Game fund raising effort for athletics will help transform so many programs in our athletics department. Lights will allow us to have football, soccer and baseball games at night while synthetic turf on the football field will make that field a multi-purpose facility,” Hollingsworth said.
On Saturday, Lengyel spoke to the Tigers football team at breakfast before Campbellsville went on to nearly silence the nation’s eighth-ranked offense with a 16-6 victory. Before the game, he was honored during a pregame ceremony by Carter with the Campbellsville University Leadership Award. He was also able to visit with legendary Campbellsville head coach Ron Finley, who was attending his first game of the season due to health reasons.
On Friday, Lengyel taped a pre-recorded halftime show with WLCU/TV-4. Saturday’s game was not broadcast due to weather, but the show is available to view online.