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Former Naval Academy Director of Athletics, Jack Lengyel, to be Honored at Marshall Game

| August 03, 2021, 10:23 AM

Naval Academy Director of Athletics Chet Gladchuk announced today that former Naval Academy Athletic Director and Marshall football coach Jack Lengyel will be honored at the season-opening Navy-Marshall football game on Sept. 4 at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.

“Jack has touched so many lives in such a positive way throughout the course of his incredibly successful career as a coach and administrator,” said Gladchuk.  “He portrays decades of sincere and highly effective inspirational leadership that is duly reflected in the annals of intercollegiate athletics history.  His personal and professional influence on Marshall University and the Naval Academy still remains etched in the core values, operational logistics and emotional fiber that motivates administrators, coaches and athletes even to this day.  Jack constructed a road map to indisputable success at both institutions and so many still remain broadly influenced by his legacy in a manner that makes us better as professionals and as caring human beings. It is so appropriate on this special day, Marshall versus Navy, that Jack Lengyel be acknowledged for what he accomplished for us and to our collective, immeasurable benefit.”

Lengyel took over the Marshall football program 50 years ago this year after the tragic Southern Airlines crash on Nov. 14, 1970 that killed all 75 people on board following Marshall’s football game at East Carolina.  It has been recognized as the worst sports-related air tragedy in U.S. history.

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The crash of Flight 932 so devastated the local community that it almost led to the discontinuation of Marshall’s football program. Lengyel, Marshall University students and Thundering Herd football fans convinced acting Marshall President Donald Dedmon to reconsider canceling the program in late 1970.

The movie “We Are Marshall” depicts the aftermath of the plane crash and the rebuilding of the Marshall football program with Matthew McConaughey playing Lengyel.

Lengyel came to Navy from the University of Missouri, where he was the Director of Athletics, and served as Navy’s first civilian athletic director from 1988 until retiring in 2001.  He received the 2005 John L. Toner Award from the National Football Foundation and College Football Hall of Fame for his service at Navy.  Since retiring, Lengyel has fulfilled the role of interim director of athletics at Temple, Eastern Kentucky and Colorado. He also served for many years on the Board of Trustees for the Naval Academy Foundation.

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Season tickets for Navy’s six home games in Annapolis are on sale now by clicking here: or by calling 1-800-US4-NAVY.

Category: LIFE IN THE AREA, Local News, NEWS, Sports

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