Marshall has wow factor

There’s things that make you say Hmmm. Then there’s things that make you say Wow!

Marshall University Director of Athletics Mike Hamrick was seeking the latter when he took former Thundering Herd football players Chad Pennington, Randy Moss and Byron Leftwich on a tour of the school’s new indoor practice facility on the same weekend of the spring game.

In addition to housing a 120-yard practice field for the football team, the complex will feature an eight-lane 300-meter track along with an academic center where 170 computers will be at the disposal for athletes.

Included as part of this $33 million Vision Campaign are a sports medicine translational research center, a Hall of Fame Atrium and an $8 million soccer stadium complex.

“I took those three individuals for a tour and it went exactly as I wanted it,” Hamrick said at Thursday’s Rally in the Alley event behind North End Tavern as part of the Marshall University’s Big Green Coaches Tour. “It was the wow factor because when Randy Moss walked in, he went wow!

“All three guys said they haven’t seen anything better in the NFL. This is as good or better than any NFL facility there is.”

The school will let loose with all the bells and whistles in conjunction with the opening celebration of the facility on the weekend of Marshall’s first football home game, which happens to fall on Saturday, Sept. 6 against Rhode Island.

“I was never worried when this would get finished,” Hamrick said. “I was worried when it get started, and once it did we were fine.

“Next up is maybe building a baseball stadium or a basketball practice facility. We just have to keep building and we’re going to because you either get better or get worse.”

* The first week of March was pivotal in terms of the Marshall football program and the way it goes about doing business.

A proposal was circulating that would have penalized offenses 5 yards for snapping the ball before 10 seconds had run off the 40-second play clock. Had it passed and been put into effect this season, multiple offensive schemes at the college level would have been affected – especially Marshall, who led the nation the past two years with an average of 83.8 snaps per game.

“They said it was a safety issue,” said Marshall football coach Doc Holliday, who also was attendance at the Rally in the Alley.

Fortunately for Marshall, the proposal was tabled on March 5.

“We run a lot of plays and go extremely fast,” Holliday said. “I think the game is more exciting than it has ever been. There are probably more people who run the up-tempo offense now than those who run the standard get-in-the-huddle.

“I’m glad they tabled it, and I think there are a lot of other coaches in the country who think like I do.”

Contact Kerry Patrick at kpatrick@newsandsentinel.com