Marshall ‘Near And Dear’ To Plenty Of People Associated With Virginia Tech

Hokies D-line coach J.C. Price coached for nine years at Marshall. (Jon Fleming)

Jim Pry doesn’t make many visits to Marshall. The memories of the aftermath of the tragic plane crash that claimed 75 lives in 1970, including 37 members of the Thundering Herd football team, are still too vivid. 

But the father of Hokies head coach Brent Pry, who played on the 1971 Marshall football team, plans to be in Huntington this weekend, flying in for Virginia Tech’s Saturday game against the Thundering Herd at Joan C. Edwards Stadium.

“It is an emotional thing for him,” Brent Pry said. “I think anybody that went through something like that and was there during that time [knows] how challenging and trying and emotional [it was].”

There’s an inextricable link between Virginia Tech and Marshall forged from that tragedy. Among the victims in the crash were Frank Loria and Rick Tolley. Loria, Marshall’s 23-year-old defensive backs coach at the time, was an All-American in the same defensive backfield as Frank Beamer during their playing days at Virginia Tech in the ’60s. Tolley, the Thundering Herd’s second-year head coach, was a Hokies center from 1958-61.