HUNTINGTON — Where Fairfield Stadium once stood, a former Marshall University football player’s name will now stand.
The late Reginald “Reggie” Oliver was the quarterback of the Young Thundering Herd and a key centerpiece on which Marshall rebuilt its football program following the crash of Southern Airways Flight 932 on Nov. 14, 1970, which killed all 75 individuals on board.
“Reggie is Marshall football,” Athletic Director Mike Hamrick said of his former coach. “I watched him play, he was a coach when I was here, and if there is one person that can be attributed to the rebirth of Marshall football, it’s Reggie Oliver.”
On Friday, university and Huntington officials gathered to unveil new signage renaming the city block that housed the old Fairfield Stadium the Honorary Reggie Oliver Square.
Also in attendance were several members of Oliver’s family, who had long hoped for something to be done in his memory after he died in Huntsville, Alabama, in August 2018. They gave their gratitude and thanks to the city of Huntington and Marshall for making the dedication possible.
“He would be humbled and appreciative of the city of Huntington,” said Oliver’s uncle, the Rev. James Hughes. “He knew he was a favorite son of Marshall, but as I’ve said before, this was his home.”
“He’d have a big smile to show off all of his white teeth,” Young Thundering Herd assistant coach Red Dawson added. “He was a good guy and a brother to me. This is all about love and continuing to go forward.”
Huntington Mayor Steve Williams said the city considered renaming a street near 12th Street and 12th Avenue that would pay tribute to the number Oliver wore for the Herd, but thought it best to remember him where he spent many of his days while at Marshall.
“Reggie didn’t spend any time there, unless he was driving by. Reggie, while he was in Huntington, he was at Fairfield Stadium,” Williams said. “So why here? This right here, on this corner, was the entrance to the field for the players.”
Jerome Gilbert, Marshall University’s president, said Oliver was a true son of Marshall and the dedication of Reggie Oliver Square is a continuation of honoring his life.
“We are all so proud of Reggie and continue to mourn his passing,” Gilbert said.