The Ferrum Football Big Green Award is given annually to a senior Panther football player, who best demonstrates the qualities of courage, hustle, and desire as a role model for his fellow teammates. The Big Green Award is in memory of the seven former Ferrum football players and Coach Rick Tolley who perished in Marshall University football team airline tragedy in November of 1970.
All seven players and Coach Rick Tolley were members of Ferrum's National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) National Championship team in 1968. The Panthers went 10-0 that season, in winning Ferrum's second national championship.
Ferrum would win two additional national titles before joining the NCAA Division III ranks in 1985. In 1994, Ferrum College inducted these eight men into its Sports Hall Fame Inaugural Class. A special plaque hangs in Hank Norton Center today in honor of these eight men.
In January 2007, Ferrum's Athletic Department hosted a private screening of the movie "We Are Marshall", a film which chronicles the crash and Marshall’s struggle to field a team in the ensuing years. Horace Green, a team captain on the 1968 Ferrum football team, spoke prior to the show, describing the relationship between Marshall and Ferrum.
Ferrum's Men Lost in Marshall Plane Crash
1970 Marshall University Football Team
1971 Jim Hottle