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Former coach Herm Edwards headlines Big Green dinner

On April 27, 2014

As if excitement in Huntington was not already buzzing with the hiring of a new basketball coach Friday and the annual Green and White game Saturday, the Big Green Club welcomed former NFL head coach and current ESPN football analyst Herm Edwards to town as the keynote speaker for its 36th annual Big Green dinner.Edwards was the head coach for the New York Jets while former Marshall stand-out quarterback Chad Pennington was with the squad. Part of why Edwards said he came to Huntington to speak at the banquet was because of the kind of player-coach relationship he had with Pennington in New York.“Through the coaching profession and the playing profession, there are always a couple of players you have special relationships with,” Edwards said. “When I became the head coach of the New York Jets, my first job, Chad was a quarterback there, he wasn’t a starter at that point in time, but I can remember the conversation like it was yesterday, when I called him into my office and told him, ‘Look Vinny [Testaverde] is going to start off as quarterback, but you need to prepare every day because your turn is coming sooner than later,’ That next year he was inserted into the lineup, and history tells itself.”Edwards said he had never been to Marshall, but knew of it through the exploits of players like Pennington, along with Byron Leftwich and Randy Moss. He said that while growing up he was a fan of former Herd basketball player Hal Greer, but never knew that Greer went to Marshall until recently.Pennington, who played for Edwards during the coach’s entire stint in the Big Apple, displayed a kind of leadership Edwards said he had never seen before.“When you think about the quarterback position, there is a tremendous pressure on you to not only perform well, but to lead,” Edwards said. “It’s one thing to lead the offense, but it’s another thing to lead the team.”Pennington spoke highly of Edwards as well, saying that Edwards taught him lessons about football and about living life.“Well you’ve always heard, ‘You play to win the game,’ right?” Pennington said “But one statement he would always try to say that not many know was ‘Hey men, help me to help you. You’ve got to make sure you do your part so I can help you. If you’re not helping yourself I can’t help you. So help me to help you,’ It seems so simple, but it’s true. As a player I had to do the things that were necessary so that coach could then put me in the positions I could be put in to make the plays I needed to make. It’s a two way street and there is accountability on both sides and he always has such a great knack for taking something that seems so complicated and putting it into a phrase about that long that makes sense.”Pennington and Leftwich served as honorary head coaches of the Green and White game Saturday, and it is unclear whether or not they got any coaching tips from Edwards.Braxton Crisp can be contacted at

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