NEWS & EVENTS
Here's all the latest news about Against All Odds: 4th Down and Forever and information on my book signings/speaking engagements.
Marshall University Alumni Association Introduction Video for Distinguished Alumnus 2016
By Marshall University Alumni Association
Thank you to the Marshall University Alumni Association for the spectacular introduction video and the prestigious honor!
Alumni Spotlight: Lester Hicks
FROM THE ASHES
In a broken world all-too-often filled with tales of heartache and despair, every once in a while comes a story so powerful and full of hope that it has to be experienced to be believed.
That is the story of one Lester Hicks.
Hicks’ tale is one of overcoming unimaginable odds to rise above and reach heights that many, including himself, never thought possible. It is a story of perseverance, determination and sheer willpower that propelled a young man from the heart of rural Georgia to an award-winning career as a safety engineer at world-renowned security and aerospace company Lockheed Martin, and achievements as an accomplished author and athlete that was part of one of the greatest sports stories ever told as a member of the Young Thundering Herd.
And he has done it all with a gracious heart, taking the life lessons taught to him by his family and friends and applying them in everything he does in life.
“The secret to my success is sweat equity and determination against all odds when failure is not an option,” a proud Hicks said. “I was determined not to allow anyone to outwork me in the classroom, in the workplace and on the football field and basketball court. Sometimes, I have to pinch myself to see if I am caught up in a dream because my accomplishments are so unlikely for a person of my background. But I always remember and embody these words, ‘Seek the kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything that you need.’”
Dodgen Student Essay Leads to New Marshall University Memorial
In November 2019, Dodgen Middle School students in seventh grade English Language Arts classes began a case study on perseverance. They studied what happened to Marshall University and the city of Huntington, West Virginia, following the plane crash that killed the 1970 Marshall football team.
The students read and analyzed several articles from the Huntington Herald-Dispatch, watched the November 14th annual Marshall fountain memorial service live, as well as segments of the movie "We Are Marshall." They also listened and took notes from guest speaker and Cobb County resident Lester Hicks, a member of the team known as the Young thundering Heard that rebuilt the Marshall football program following the tragedy.
The Dodgen students questioned whether the university had ever considered creating some sort of memorial to the Young Thundering Herd and Jack Lengyel, Marshall’s new coach after the plane crash. Students discussed and pondered what would Marshall football, the city of Huntington, and the university be like today had Jack Lengyel or those players not committed to rebuilding the program.
Exploring Marshall Ep.4: Young Thundering Herd
Every university has its revered athletes and celebrated teams of the past, and Marshall University is no exception. But not every institution has a history comparable to that of Marshall University’s football program. In the wake of utter disaster and despair, the Young Thundering Herd, a team comprised of mostly freshman, took the field carrying both the university and City of Huntington forward. There were no trophies at the end of the 1971 season, no championship to tout, but you will have a hard time convincing members of the Marshall University family that this team is anything less than spectacular.
Undoubtedly, the Young Thundering Herd have left their mark on Marshall University and college football history. These valiant Sons of Marshall exemplify what it means to persevere; to reach beyond what you think you are capable of and trust in those around you to help bring it all together. The success Marshall Football has experienced throughout the years since 1971 rests on the mighty shoulders of these men and on behalf of the Marshall family we are eternally grateful. GO HERD!!
The Young Thundering Herd, In Their Own Words
2021 is the 50th Anniversary of the 1971 Marshall University Football Team, also known as "The Young Thundering Herd."
2023 Earth Day Steward for Pick It Up Powder Springs
Last month, the Mayor and Council proclaimed Lester Hicks as the “Earth Day Steward” for 2023 for the Pick It Up Powder Springs community clean-up. Hicks was congratulated and honored with the title due to his “invaluable contributions to community and to protecting our environment and natural resources.”
Hicks, a resident of the Powder Springs community, has helped lead efforts with award-winning programs to change behaviors in ways to protect and preserve our environment, including 21 awards from the State of Georgia for his pollution prevention and community service efforts. In addition to his volunteer efforts with numerous community organizations such as WellStar Hospice Home Care, Cobb Literary Council and school mentoring, Hicks is also an author, having penned “Against All Odds: 4th Down and Forever,” which was inspired by the air tragedy that took the lives of 75 people in the Marshall football program, after which he joined surviving players to help rebuild the football program and was later honored by Marshall with the Distinguished Alumnus Award.
Reggie M Oliver Street Unveiling Ceremony
Coordinated by Lester Brian Hicks
The City of Huntington hosted an honorary street designation ceremony Friday, Oct. 23, 2020, in the Fairfield community for Young Thundering Herd quarterback Reggie Oliver.
Lockheed Martin Corporation
AeroTV NEWS BLAST
Marietta Environmental Safety Engineer Les Hicks Honored by Marshall University
Watch Les Hicks discuss receiving the 2016 Distinguished Alumnus Award from Marshal University. Clip starts at the 2:17 mark.
Lester Hicks Takes Readers through the Marshall University Crash in ‘Against all Odds – 4th Down and Forever
So thankful for all the support regarding my book. Keep spreading the word!
2014 B4 Youth Program: Lester Hicks
Former Marshall football player Lester Hicks was the featured speaker at the 2014 B4 youth program June 13 at Marshall University's Memorial Student Center. Hicks nearly took his life before turning his life around and becoming a college graduate and engineer. His book, "Against All Odds -- Fourth Down And Forever" is about how the 1970 Marshall plane crash inspired his life.
Former Marshall player inspired by plane crash
By Gary Fauber
Assistant Sports Editor
Thank you Gary Fauber and The Register-Herald for the wonderful article!
AuthorTalk #2 Radio Podcast
Want to learn more about the person behind the book? Click the 8-18-13 podcast link below to hear Lester Hicks explain why he wrote the book and how he hopes it inspires others
AuthorTalk #2 Radio order of interviews for the 8/18/13 show: 2:00-3:00PM EST 1. Against All Odds-4th Down and Forever: How The 1970 Marshall University Football Team Plane Crash Inspired Me; by Lester Brian Hicks 2.