This Day in College Football History – November 14th

Les Horvath (October 12, 1921 – November 14, 1995) was the 1944 Heisman Trophy winner, who played quarterback and halfback for the Ohio State University. He was born in South Bend, Indiana, and raised in the Cleveland, Ohio area.  Horvath graduated from James Ford Rhodes High School in Cleveland. Horvath played for the Buckeyes in 1940, 1941, 1942 and 1944. He had already graduated with a bachelor’s degree after the 1942 season, and moved on to graduate school. While studying dentistry in graduate school at The Ohio State University College of Dentistry, head coach Carroll Widdoes asked Horvath to come back to the team for the 1944 season because of the manpower shortage caused by World War II. The college football rules at the time permitted the fourth year of eligibility beyond graduation because of wartime.  After graduating from the dental school in 1945, Horvath joined the United States Navy as an Ensign, and he served in that role until he was discharged in July 1947. He played professional football for three seasons from 1947 to 1949 for the Los Angeles Rams and the Cleveland Browns. He then became a practicing dentist in the Los Angeles area of southern California.


Frank Loria (1947 – November 14, 1970) was a defensive back born in the town of Clarksburg, West Virginia in Harrison County and was a three sport athlete at Notre Dame Catholic High School.  He played college football for the Virginia Tech Hokies football team from 1965–1967, helping the Hokies to a berth in the 1966 Liberty Bowl. Loria was named consensus All-American in 1967. Loria joined the Marshall University coaching staff as the defensive backs coach. He died in the Southern Airlines Flight 932 airplane crash, that killed most of Marshall’s football team, on November 14, 1970.

Loria played safety in the same defensive backfield with Frank Beamer, the current coach at Virginia Tech. It is indicative of Loria’s stature, as well as Beamer’s humility, that when Frank Beamer was once asked if he ever thought about “what if” that plane had not crashed, that he replied to the effect that he thought it was quite possible that Loria might be the coach at Tech, and that he himself might be an assistant.

His number, #10, is one of only four numbers retired by Virginia Tech. Loria was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame on December 7, 1999, along with the man he played for, former Virginia Tech Coach the late Jerry Claiborne. The local Clarksburg Columbian Club honors his memory every year by hosting the Frank Loria Dinner, where the first team All Harrison County football players attend. The Loria award is given to the most outstanding high school football player in the county. Notable guest speakers at the dinner have been Frank Beamer, former Marshall coach Red Dawson, WVU football coach Bill Stewart, and WVU basketball coach Bob Huggins. In 1984, Loria was inducted into the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame.


Marshall University on Nov. 14, 1970, plane crash

Southern Airways Flight 932 was a chartered Southern Airways Douglas DC-9 domestic United States commercial jet flight from Stallings Field (ISO) in Kinston, North Carolina, to Huntington Tri-State Airport/Milton J. Ferguson Field (HTS) in Ceredo, West Virginia. At 7:36 pm on November 14, 1970, the aircraft crashed into a hill just short of the Tri-State Airport, killing all 75 people on board.  The plane was carrying 37 members of the Marshall University Thundering Herd football team, eight members of the coaching staff, 25 boosters, and 5 flight crew members. The team was returning home after a 17–14 loss to the East Carolina Pirates at Ficklen Stadium in Greenville, North Carolina. At the time, Marshall’s athletic teams rarely traveled by plane, since most away games were within easy driving distance of the campus. The team originally planned to cancel the flight, but changed plans and chartered the Southern Airways DC-9.  The accident is the deadliest sports related tragedy in U.S. history.


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