Wichita State suffers tragic plane crash

Updated: October 17, 2005, 4:27 PM ET
By Larry Schwartz | Special to ESPN.com

Oct. 2, 1970

Wichita State suffers one of the greatest tragedies in college football history when one of the team's two charter flights crashes en route to its game at Utah State. Traveling in clear weather, the two-engine plane is carrying 36 passengers and a crew of four when it goes down and burns in the Rocky Mountains in Colorado.

Twenty-nine are killed on impact. (Two others will die from injuries received in the accident.) Among the victims are 14 players, head coach Ben Wilson and his wife, and athletic director Bert Katzenmeyer and his wife.

Despite the disaster, the school will continue the football program. New head coach Bob Seaman puts the entire freshman team on the varsity and creates what is known as the "Second Season." The team will consist of 43 freshmen, 24 sophomores, six juniors and three seniors. In its first game, October 31 against Arkansas, the crowd of 40,000 in Little Rock will give the Shockers a standing ovation.