BONUS STORY: A TRIUMPH OF WILL

A QUARTER-CENTURY AFTER A TERRIBLE TRAGEDY, MARSHALL UNIVERSITY HAS THE WINNINGEST FOOTBALL TEAM OF THE 1990S

Even without knowing its significance, a visitor would be mesmerized by the fountain on the campus of Marshall University in Huntington, W.Va. Water flows from the top of 75 strands of steel shaped and forged to look like a gigantic flower. On this particular autumn Saturday morning, the steady trickle is the only sound on a campus that will soon shake with cheers.

They love the Thundering Herd in Huntington. Stand anywhere in this Rust Belt, Bible Belt city of 60,000, twirl around, and you will see at least one green-and-white GO HERD sign. Young and old are wearing shirts and...