HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — Marshall Director of Athletics Mike Hamrick said the history and tradition are why he’s always wanted the football program to play Army and Navy.
The Thundering Herd will be playing both military academies in a home-and-home series, as Hamrick announced last week a series with Army in 2025 and 2026.
He discussed the deal with Army on a recent appearance on MetroNews ‘Talkline’ and said there is nothing like playing against the academies.
“I have so much respect for the military academies and for those student-athletes,” Hamrick said. “For what they do, what they go through. I have always wanted to get Marshall to play them and fortunately, we have been able to. For a six-year period, we will play Army twice and play Navy twice.
“I think the fans will enjoy the trip to West Point, the national exposure that you get and they are great football games.”
First reported by the Herald-Dispatch, Army will visit Huntington on August 30, 2025, while Marshall takes the trip to West Point, N.Y., the following season on October 10, 2026.
Marshall had already scheduled Navy in a home-and-home with the Herd traveling to play the Midshipmen on September 4, 2021, before the two clash for the home opener at Joan C. Edwards Stadium on September 2, 2023.
“West Virginia, we have such a great military history here,” Hamrick said. “Our citizens, so many have served in the military. I think we will get many of them to come out and watch Marshall play both Army and Navy.”
Hamrick referenced his time as the AD at East Carolina for his experience at an Army game, calling it an experience unlike any other.
“The parade watching the cadets come out of the barracks and parade in full uniform,” he said. “The president of East Carolina and myself got to go down and informally inspect the cadets. That’s a once in a lifetime experience.”
Hamrick said his priority for filling out the future non-conference games for the football program was the military academies and one marquee game on the road.
In March, Marshall announced a road game at Notre Dame scheduled to be on September 10, 2022.
Hamrick emphasized the game with the Fighting Irish is one of the few instances where he has scheduled a single game with a program, citing many home-and-home series with Power 5 and top Group of 5 programs.
This upcoming season, Marshall plays at Boise State and home against Ohio and Cincinnati. Those three games are part of series scheduled and all three are favorites to compete for their respective conference’s title.
In the next five seasons, Marshall will welcome the likes of Virginia Tech, Ohio, Cincinnati, Boise State, Pitt, Navy, Army, Appalachian State, East Carolina, Liberty, and Western Michigan to Huntington for non-conference games.
In the past five seasons, Marshall has welcomed Power 5 schools Purdue, NC State, and Louisville in which the Cardinals were ranked No.3 in the country at the time led by future Heisman winner Lamar Jackson.
“We need to bring good teams to Huntington,” Hamrick said.
“If we are going to be the best program in the Group of 5 and get that one spot in the New Year’s Six, we have to play a great schedule and we have to win. That’s our goal, that’s what we are trying to do.”