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Marshall Football Returns to Home Airwaves

James RoachContributor IAugust 27, 2009

COLUMBUS, OH - SEPTEMBER 11:  Quarterback Stan Hill #4 of the Marshall Thundering Herd celebrates at teammate Earl Charles #34 scores against the Ohio State Buckeyes during the first quarter on September 11, 2004 at Ohio Stadium in Columbus, Ohio.   (Photo by David Maxwell/Getty Images)

In an era where everyone is on television and exposure is everything, the Thundering Herd have been in the dark for far too long. Four years ago, the Thundering Herd TV Network came to an unceremonious and abrupt halt.

As Marshall entered a new phase by leaving the Mid-American Conference and heading to the greener pastures of Conference USA, fans, coaches, and WSAZ (the flagship station for THTVN) were all informed that the Herd would no longer be televised locally. The excuse? CSTV (now CBS College Sports) demanded that all local TV packages would have to go in lieu of their coverage.

Well, that was all fine and dandy until you look around at the media world these days and realize that most stations are part of media groups and conglomerations. One such group just so happens to own WSAZ and her sister station, which have been broadcasting East Carolina games regionally for many years.

Various excuses were tossed around during the following years as the athletic department and WSAZ exchanged volleys, each trying to sink the other's battleship.

WSAZ fired off, claiming Marshall athletic director Bob Marcum was the impediment to a new deal. The primary claim for this revolved around a deal with West Virginia Media Corporation and the WVU-MU Friends of Coal Bowl.

Marcum attempted to absolve himself and the department by focusing the lens on WSAZ, claiming they had been difficult and did not want to pay rights fees or compromise from the deal that existed in the MAC period.

Regardless of where the blame truly belonged, in mid-August a new era started in Huntington, W.Va,, when Mike Hamrick was named the new athletic director at Marshall University. At the official press conference introducing Hamrick, television was one of the issues he planned on addressing early, and that is just what he did.

Long before any of the sports seasons started at the university, Hamrick got the Herd their first mark in the win column by securing a deal that brought two games to the Huntington television market. The first was an early season game against former MAC rival Bowling Green, and the second a season finale against Texas-El Paso.

After a four-year blackout, Marshall football returns to the main stage and Marshall's own Keith Morehouse will be broadcasting the Herd once again. John Gregory will fill the analyst role for the Bowling Green game, however, Sonny Randle will return to Morehouse's side for the UTEP contest.

It will be a long overdue welcome back for the duo that was the voice of The Herd for almost two decades. Hopefully it does not take another four years to work out a more lasting agreement.

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