FILE - In this Nov. 12, 2015, file photo, Marshall coach Dan D'Antoni, center, draws up a play during a timeout in an NCAA college basketball exhibition game against Bluefield State in Huntington, W. Va. D'Antoni was a 23-year-old assistant with the Marshall basketball program in 1970, when a plane carrying members of the Wichita State football team crashed in Colorado. Six weeks later, on Nov. 14, 1970, a plane carrying members of the Marshall football team crashed. As fate would have it, Marshall's first trip to the NCAA Tournament in 31 years means a date with Wichita State on Friday, March 16, 2018, in San Diego. (Sholten Singer/The Herald-Dispatch via AP, File)

Wichita State, Marshall meet 48 years after plane crashes

March 14, 2018 - 1:19 pm

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — In October 1970, one of two planes carrying the Wichita State football team to a game at Utah State crashed in Colorado, killing 31 people.

Six weeks later, the plane carrying the Marshall University football team crashed near its West Virginia campus, killing all 75 people aboard.

On Friday, the two schools forever linked by tragedy will meet in the NCAA men's basketball tournament. Marshall and Wichita State have never before played in men's basketball, and the meeting has brought back painful memories of the crashes 48 years ago. Marshall coach Dan D'Antoni was an assistant with the Thundering Herd in 1970 — and he watched news reports of both crashes on television and couldn't believe what he was seeing.

Jim Rhatigan was Wichita State's dean of students at the time. He remembers finding his counterpart at Marshall to offer his insight on how his own school had dealt with grief and loss just a few weeks earlier.

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