12:46 am
Fri November 15, 2013

The Impact of the Father I Never Knew

On November 14, 1970, one West Virginia college football team was beginning to climb out of a slump. But one unexpected incident launched them into sports history and changed the lives of many families.

Frank Loria (r). He was an assistant coach with the Marshall University Thundering Herd in 1970. He died when the team's plane crash after playing East Carolina University. Loria was 23. His son, Frank Loria, Jr., was born a month after his death.
Credit Frank Loria, Jr.

November 14th is a painful day for many in West Virginia and across the country. Especially for the Thundering herd football team at Marshall University in WV. Forty-three years ago today, most of the players on the 1970 team, the coaching staff and some boosters died when their plane flew into the side of a mountain. In 2006, the movie, We Are Marshall, came out focused on how MU and its Athletic Department worked to recover and rebuild after the accident.

WFDD's Kathryn Mobley spoke with one New Jersey man who is very familiar with this tragedy. Frank Loria, Jr. grew up in Raleigh and played high school football. His team often squared off with teams in the Triad. He says the death of the 1970 Marshall football team shaped his entire life, even though it happened before he was born.

Frank Loria, Jr. describes his very different relationship with the father he never met but feels he knows very well.