Sept. 13, 2013
After a Marshall and NFL career that included nearly 1,700 snaps - and only one of those errant - Chris Massey is settling into life after football with his wife, Sarah, and three children, in Scott Depot.
The 6-foot Massey was considered the strongest Herd player during his 1997-2001 years in the Marshall program. The former long snapper's 500-pound bench press is still an MU record, tied recently by senior defensive tackle James Rouse.
Chris, a walk-on for the Herd after starring at East Bank High School in Kanawha County -- is an active member in the M Club, which is up to 350 members strong. He was a significant recent contributor to the Vision Campaign, too, and last spring he was back on the field, at Coach Doc Holliday's request, to work with MU long snapper Matt Cincotta.
Chris' ties to his alma mater's program are woven through his 10-season NFL career in St. Louis and Chicago, too. He and current Herd receivers coach Mike Furrey were Rams' teammates, still friends, and work together on the Basket Of Hope charity project.
Recently, Chris took time to answer a few questions from Herd Insider Editor Jack Bogaczyk:
Hometown: Chesapeake, W.Va.
Residence: Scott Depot
Year graduated at Marshall: Undergraduate degree in Criminal Justice (2001); Graduate degree in Sports Administration, finished graduate degree in NFL offseason (2008).
Family: Wife, Sarah; 3 children, Maddyx, 8; Maybre, 4; Jaxsyn, 1.
JB: What's your current occupation, describe the role, how long you've been there, etc.?
Chris: I have been busy getting settled in our house that we built in Scott Depot and have been working with my father-in-law in sales.
JB: In what kind of charity work are you involved?
Chris: My wife and I started our own branch of Basket of Hope here in Charleston. It's a non-profit organization that delivers baskets of age-appropriate toys and crafts to children recently diagnosed with cancer. It is a national organization supported by the NFL that originated in St. Louis. For more info you can go to www.basketofhope.org and click on the Charleston WV branch.
JB: What is your best memory from your years of Marshall football?
Chris: My best memory in my five-year career at Marshall is hard to pinpoint. So many great things happened in that era. The (undefeated) 1999 season was great, the South Carolina (1998) and Clemson (`99) wins, five MAC championships, the "Miracle in Mobile" (double-overtime bowl win over East Carolina). I met my wife at Marshall, but I would have to say the day I earned my degree with honors is the most meaningful to me.
JB: Do you have a favorite Marshall athletic moment from a time when you weren't playing for the Herd?
Chris: My best post-Marshall memory is the day when I called Coach (Mark) Gale during the 2008 offseason and told him I wanted to finish my graduate degree. I could have gone anywhere to finish it, but I wanted to complete it from Marshall. The support was overwhelming and the football office and Mrs. (Tara) Helton and my advisors, Mr. (Bob) Barnett and Mrs. (Jennifer) Mak, worked with me to get it completed. Once a son, always a son of Marshall.
JB: Who was your favorite teammate, or two, and why?
Chris: My two favorite teammates were (place-kicker) J.R. Jenkins and (defensive lineman) Jimmy Parker. Jenkins was my roommate for three years and best friend - still -- to this day. Parker is just as close and we had similar academic schedules and we enjoyed a lot of the same interests.
JB: You went through four years of college and a decade-long NFL career with only one bad snap (darn remarkable, I say). When did that occur and how did it happen?
Chris: I can't believe you're going to make me mention the only bad snap I had in 14 years. It was on Dec. 11, 2006 -- Monday Night Football of all games - (at St. Louis) against the Bears. The ball just got stuck in the turf when I went to snap it ... Just one of those freak instances that happened.
JB: You were back working with the Herd during spring practice on long snapping. What was that experience like?
Chris: I did work with Matt Cincotta a few times during the offseason. Coach Holliday called and asked me to come and take a look at him. He wanted him to do some things in protection that he hasn't done before. I think that it's very important for guys to come back and talk and work with the younger guys. It's a great way to give back to the program, and hopefully guys can learn a few things about the game and life in general from us veterans.
JB: How much do you miss the game?
Chris: I miss the game very much; the transition is very hard. I've played ball since I was 5 years old. I miss the feeling of competition on game day. I miss the locker room and the camaraderie with the fellas, but it's a whole new ball game and I'm ready move on.
JB: You were a teammate of Herd WR coach Mike Furrey with the St. Louis Rams. How well did you and Mike know each other then, and have you continued that contact and/or friendship?
Chris: Mike and I were teammates in St. Louis for three years. Mike and I put up trim and crown molding in my St. Louis house together long ago. He is also the President of the Basket Of Hope Foundation that I am a part of, and we work together with that. He loves the Marshall experience and we are lucky to have him a part of our family. He and I are very good friends.
JB: You are a member of the M Club at Marshall. How important to you is building those membership numbers to have former Herd athletes - and teammates of your - involved?
Chris: I joined the M Club because it's a great way to stay involved in and be a part of Marshall University athletics. I've encouraged a lot of former teammates to get involved. It's great to see those guys in the tailgate area after all these years.
JB: You have been a recent donor to the Vision Campaign. How enthused are you about the projects involved and how important will these facilities be in advancing the Herd programs?
Chris: I have recently made a personal donation to the Vision Campaign. It is a necessity if we as a program want to grow as a university and compete at a high level -- year in and year out. We have to make a splash in recruiting and when top recruits come to Huntington, they fall in love with the University and atmosphere, but we lack the facilities to keep them here. We continue to rise as a University but we are not finished. We want to take the national stage as an athletic program and the Vision Campaign and its facilities are going to give us that opportunity. GO HERD!