Mike Horrocks may have been gone for 17 years and counting, but he’s never left his alma mater in spirit.
The 38-year-old former Marine and quarterback of the West Chester University football team in the early 1980s left his home in Glen Mills on Sept. 9, 2001 and never returned. However, what took the place of his physical presence was a legacy that will never die.
A Hershey native, Horrocks graduated from WCU in 1985 and was the First Officer (co-pilot) of United Airlines Flight 175, which terrorists hijacked and flew into the South Tower of the World Trade Center at 9:03 AM.
In 1983, Horrocks led the Golden Rams to their first win over the University of Delaware in 23 years, according to a report in the Daily Local News. He made the first start of his career that day, as WCU, which entered the contest as a 35-point underdog, secured a memorable 35-27 victory.
Horrocks went 14-7 during his two seasons as the team’s starting quarterback.
In 2010, on the ninth anniversary of 9/11, the university unveiled a statue of him on Mike Horrocks Day, which also included speeches, a Marine flyover, and a 21-gun salute.
Years later, WCU football players often touch Mike’s seven-foot statue after exiting the locker room and before stepping onto the field.
“He was a tremendous person,” Roy Blumenthal, who coached Horrocks, said of him. “He was a leader, a born leader.”