Marshall University is proudly declaring that Homecoming is Back and Better Than Ever as the university prepares to welcome thousands of alumni, family and friends back to campus for its annual Homecoming celebration. This year’s activities are slated to begin on Monday, October 4, and culminate with the crowning of royalty at halftime during the football game against Old Dominion University, with kickoff set for 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, October 9.

After a year apart due to the pandemic, this year’s theme, Back and Better Than Ever, celebrates the return of traditional Homecoming activities, while implementing all the necessary precautions to allow alumni and supporters to celebrate safely. The theme will also accompany the return of dozens of activities throughout the week including the annual parade, bonfire, Picnic on the Plaza, Homecoming Stampede 5K, Marshall Alumni & Family Tailgate, and much more.

“We are so excited to once again be able to gather together on our beautiful campus to celebrate Homecoming as a family. The past year has been a difficult one for all of us. Lockdowns and virtual gatherings have seemingly become the norm and many in the Marshall community, like those around the world, have been left pining for that warm glow of our campus home,” said Matt Hayes, Marshall University’s Executive Director of Alumni Relations. “This year we are looking forward to reuniting with that Marshall spirit and remembering why Marshall University is such a special place in the hearts of so many. We look forward to welcoming alumni, supporters, family and friends back to campus in October, all while taking the necessary steps to assure that our Marshall family is safe and protected while they are here.”

Homecoming week will feature a fun mix of virtual and in-person activities for all to participate. The week will begin with virtual games and new episodes of the Exploring Marshall video series presented by the Marshall University Alumni Association, culminating with the usual slate of in-person Homecoming activities later in the week.

This year’s Homecoming Grand Marshals are the players, coaches, and staff of the Young Thundering Herd, the renowned 1971 Thundering Herd football team that helped set the benchmark for a return to prominence for Marshall University and its football program. One year after the devastating 1970 plane crash that took the lives of 75 members of the Marshall family, a team of freshmen and walk-ons, aptly dubbed the Young Thundering Herd, began what would go on to become one of the greatest comeback stories ever told. The team will be lead by Young Thundering Herd member and 1974 team captain Allen Meadows and Lucianne Call, former cheerleader and daughter of former director of athletics Charlie E. Kautz who perished on Southern Airways Flight 932.

This year the Young Thundering Herd is celebrating its 50th anniversary season.

At Homecoming, members of the Young Thundering Herd will once again return to campus to take part in the Homecoming parade, halftime festivities, and numerous other events scheduled for the week.

Some of the highlights of this year’s homecoming include:

Virtual Activities: Mon., Oct. 4 – Wed., Oct. 6. The Marshall University Alumni Association will be hosting game nights, live interviews, and will air two new episodes of its Exploring Marshall video series during the early part of the week. Visit to register and find out more.

Unity Walk: 4:30 p.m., Mon., Oct. 4. The Marshall community will gather at the Memorial Student Center Plaza for a unifying walk around campus.

Marshall Homecoming Parade: 6:30 p.m., Thur., Oct. 7. Annual Homecoming Parade through downtown Huntington ending in front of campus on Fifth Avenue. This year’s Homecoming Parade will feature an exciting new live stream broadcast available on social media at @marshallu and @marshallualumni.

Pep Rally and Bonfire: 7:30 p.m., Thur., Oct. 7. A celebration and massive bonfire on the field beside Harless Dining Hall.

Picnic on the Plaza: 11:30 a.m., Fri., Oct. 8. Free food, great music and plenty of excitement highlight the annual Picnic on the Plaza pep rally presented the Marshall University Alumni Association. The event is open and free to the campus community and alumni.

Homecoming Stampede 5K: 9 a.m., Sat., Oct. 9. Start your Homecoming morning off right! The Stampede 5K presented by the Marshall University Alumni Association will feature a fun campus-focused run/walk with awards for multiple age groups. Registration and run begins on the Memorial Student Center Plaza.

Hal Greer Statue Dedication: 10 a.m., Sat. Oct. 9. Join the Marshall University family for a special ceremony to dedicate the statue honoring Marshall and NBA great Harold Everett “Hal” Greer beside the Cam Henderson Center.

Marshall Alumni & Family Tailgate: 11:30 a.m., Sat., Oct. 9. Marshall’s largest and most exciting Homecoming tailgate party! The annual Marshall Alumni & Family Tailgate will take place in a new location in the Joan C. Edwards Stadium East Lot, beside the Chris Cline Indoor Athletic Complex. The Tailgate features food, drinks, music and special guest appearances. Tickets are $10.

Thundering Herd vs. Old Dominion Monarchs: 2:00 p.m., Sat., Oct. 9. Marshall battles ODU in a crucial Conference USA matchup at Joan C. Edwards Stadium.

Campus events are sponsored by the Marshall University Alumni Association, Student Government Association, Office of Student Activities, Office of Intercultural Affairs and others.

For a complete list of activities and to reserve your spot at an event during this year’s Homecoming festivities, visit