Marshall University and the Marshall University Alumni Association are excited to announce that alumnus Allen Meadows will serve as grand marshal for Marshall’s 2020 virtual Homecoming set for the week of October 19-24.

Meadows is a prominent member of the Young Thundering Herd and a pillar in the Huntington community. He will serve in the role at the annual Homecoming Parade – this year taking place online on Marshall University’s social media channels – and at several activities throughout the week.

He will head a unique all-virtual Homecoming, Herd @ Home, brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. Homecoming will consist of a complete week of activities including campus tours, a virtual 5K, thought-provoking discussions, social activities, opportunities to hear from students and President Gilbert, live events and webinars, game nights, a drive-in showing of We Are Marshall, and much more. All of these events will take place on Marshall’s social media channels and on various live services.

 “We are so very excited to honor Allen as our Grand Marshal in this truly unique Homecoming celebration,” said Matt Hayes, Executive Director of Alumni Relations. “While we are disappointed that we will not be able to gather in-person this year, we are excited to bring alumni, students and supporters a full slate of incredible events and activities online that are completely free and open to all members of the Marshall family. And we very much look forward to having Allen with us throughout this week of activities as he truly symbolizes everything that is great about Marshall University.”

Meadows grew up in Madison, West Virginia, where he attended Scott High School. He was recruited by Bobby Bowden to play football at West Virginia University, but ultimately chose Marshall following the tragic plane crash in November of 1970. Red Dawson was instrumental in Meadows’ decision, bringing him on as a freshman where he would play all four years for The Herd.

Meadows played defensive tackle at Marshall and was one of seven four-year letterman in 1974 – the first of their kind in college football following the decision by the NCAA to allow freshmen to play following the plane crash. Meadows was named the most outstanding lineman in 1973 and was captain of the team in 1974.

“On the night of the tragic plane crash, I was in Morgantown on a recruiting trip. One of deciding factors for me to come to Marshall was Red (Dawson) telling me that I could play all four years at Marshall during a time that freshman were not allowed to play. Of course, Red didn’t recruit me, he recruited my mom,” Meadows said with a laugh. “I was recruited to play defensive tackle – all 185 pounds of me – and began my journey with the Young Thundering Herd, the greatest rebuilding of a football program in history.

“That team consisted of 40 freshmen with an average age of 18 and a few upperclassman who did not make the trip the year before. Our average weight on the line was 205 while our opponents averaged 280 or more. We had baseball players, basketball players, soccer players, wrestlers and transfers coming together for the first time ready to rebuild this Marshall team.

“The teams we played were bigger, faster and stronger. But we won two games that year, Xavier, whom everyone knows from the movie, and Bowling Green. The win against Bowling Green took place in Huntington and they had the fourth best rusher in college football. That day, we held him to under 100 yards and we won that game 12-10. In total we won nine games during the four years that I was here and I ended my senior year weighing 276 pounds and was captain of the team.

“I don’t think any of the Young Thundering Herd at that time realized what an impact those four years had meant to Marshall’s rebuilding of the football program and the community.”

Meadows received his BBA in Business Management and Marketing in 1974 and married his high school sweetheart, Jeanie Garrett Meadows, while attending Marshall. Today, Meadows is a retired sales manager from Altria. He has remained active in the Marshall community, serving as a ministry leader for the University Christian Fellowship, a board member for the M Club for over 20 years, and is currently serving on the Marshall University Alumni Association Board of Directors.

Meadows was also actively involved in the filming and premier of the We Are Marshall movie.

“Marshall touches many parts of my life. In addition to playing football and getting my degree, I have been an active part of the Marshall community since graduating,” Meadows said. “Marshall University helped me develop the key values I cherish – integrity, persistence, leadership, and loyalty. Marshall will always be imprinted on my heart.

“I am blessed and honored to be selected as Grand Marshal. Marshall is part of my blood. I have lived in Huntington since graduating from MU and would not want to live anywhere else. It is the home of Marshall University. I would like to thank President Gilbert, Matt Hayes, and the Homecoming committee for this honor.”

As part of the Homecoming festivities held each fall, the grand marshal has the special honor of leading the Homecoming parade. The parade – this year taking place virtually on social media – will take place at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, October 22.

Meadows will also participate in other major events online throughout the week. Highlights of Marshall’s Herd @ Home virtual Homecoming include:

* Exploring Marshall video series exploring the past present and future of Marshall (All Week)
* Homecoming Stampede Virtual 5K (All Week)
* Social Hour and Q&A w/ President Gilbert (Tuesday, Oct. 20 at 7:00 p.m.)
* #HerdHomecoming Good Morning Yoga (All Week)
* Bingo, Jeopardy, and Trivia Game Nights (All Week)
* Traditions Live and Q&A w/ Director (Wednesday, Oct. 21 at 7:30 p.m.)
* Webinar: Career Services (Thursday, Oct. 22 at 12:00 p.m.)
* Virtual Wine Tasting (Thursday, Oct. 22 at 6:00 p.m.)
* Virtual Parade (Thursday, Oct. 23 at 7:00 p.m.)
* We Are Marshall Drive-In Movie Night at Altizer Field in Huntington (Friday, Oct. 23 at 8:30 p.m.)
* Marshall vs. FAU Homecoming Game (Saturday, Oct. 24 at 2:30 p.m.)

“It will be different this year taking place online, but I am so glad that we carry on this wonderful tradition,” Meadows said. “And for me personally, it makes no difference if it is in real time or virtual, it is a great honor.”

More information on this year’s Homecoming and a complete schedule can be found at www.herdalum.com/calendar-of-events.