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Editor’s Note: The recent book signing sponsored by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association attracted a lively crowd of inquisitive sports fans and avid readers. Noted writers such as Bob Ryan (Boston Globe and ESPN) and Leigh Montville (Sports Illustrated) were on hand to mix and mingle with other media and visitors during the association’s annual awards weekend held in Salisbury, NC.
But there were others in that journalistic mix who had recollections of their own to share. Craig T. Greenlee was one of eight writers who accepted an invitation to participate in the event. The Salisbury Post newspaper ran an article about the book signing which included Greenlee, who is the author of November Ever After, a memoir about the Marshall plane crash and its aftermath (read below).
Craig Greenlee played for the Marshall football team for two years before the plane crash that killed the majority of the 1970 team after a road game at East Carolina. It was one of the worst tragedies in sports history and Greenlee had been teammates with most of the players on board. Scottie Reese, a linebacker from Waco, Texas, was slated to be the best man at Greenlee’s wedding.
Greenlee, a freelance writer who lives in Winston-Salem, wanted to give a first-hand account of the story. He said he was inspired to write his book after watching the movie We Are Marshall.
“It’s not in the sense of being a movie hater,” Greenlee said. “It’s in the sense of there’s a lot of aspects of this story that have never really been addressed.”
Greenlee recollects stories such as teammate Ed Carter’s. Carter’s mother called him 10 days before the crash and predicted the plane would go down and he didn’t need to be on it. Carter now has a global ministry that he’s led for decades.
Greenlee claims a hostile racial conflict occurred after an intramural football game at the school the night before the plane went down. The crash obviously gave the students a newfound perspective.
“I felt like we were on the verge of a race riot,” Greenlee said. “The plane went down and it’s almost like none of that happened. The hurt and shock was so deep it cut across all lines.”
- Ryan Bisesi
Salisbury Post (NC)