In an annual ceremony of remembrance, a wreath is placed at Wichita State's Memorial '70 at 9 a.m. each October 2. The brief ceremony honors WSU football players, administrators and supporters who died in a plane crash Friday, October 2, 1970.
In one of the worst tragedies of college sports history, a plane carrying WSU football players, athletic staff members and team boosters crashed at approximately 3 p.m. on a mountain near Silver Plume, Colorado while enroute to Logan, Utah for a game with Utah State University.
The "Gold" plane, a Martin 404, carried 36 passengers and a crew of four. Twenty-nine persons died at the scene. Trainer Tom Reeves and player John Taylor died later after receiving medical attention for their injuries.
Survivors of the crash were players Mike Bruce, John Hoheisel, Randy Jackson, Glenn Kostal, Dave Lewis, Keith Morrison, Bob Renner, Rick Stephens and co-pilot Ronald Skipper.
Football players and coaches on the "Black" plane were told of the crash by Bob Seaman, assistant coach, shortly after arrival in Logan, Utah. The game with Utah State was cancelled. WSU players spent the night in Logan and returned to Wichita by commercial plane Saturday.
A plane was made available by Governor Docking to take university officials and family of the survivors to Denver. Classes were cancelled Monday, October 5, and a memorial service was held Monday evening at Cessna Stadium.
The Utah State football team held a brief memorial service at the stadium where the game was to be played Saturday and placed a black and yellow wreath on the 50-yard line.
The future of the 1970 football season was in doubt, with the decision lying in the hands of the football players, university officials and eligibility rules. The NCAA had no objection of using freshman in the remaining games; neither did the Missouri Valley Conference.
The football players decided to continue the season, which was later designated as the "Second Season." The first game following the air tragedy was Saturday, October 24 with the University of Arkansas Razorbacks in Little Rock at the War Memorial Stadium. The first home game was WSU's homecoming on October 31 against the University of Cincinnati at Cessna Stadium.