Oct. 8, 2013
Chris and Karrie are shining examples of what being a student-athlete is all about. These two standout sports stars stepped onto campus and immediately started making a difference both on the field and off.
Chris, a standout football player from Chesapeake, Va., and Karrie, a highly recruited basketball player from Washington, Pa., met on their second day on campus in 1998.
It was truly love at first sight.
"I remember walking into the training room for our team physicals and locking eyes with Chris," Karrie said. "Our first date was later that week, he took me to Happy Dragon, and I had to pay! I still, to this day, remind him of that."
While at Marshall, Chris was a four-year letterman (1999-2002) and a starter his final three season as safety. He redshirted as a true freshman in 1998, before seeing his first game action in the Herd's undefeated 1999 season.
For his career, he totaled 277 tackles, 24 passes defended, four interceptions, and three sacks. He earned first team All-Mid-American Conference as a junior, recording 88 tackles, 10 passes defended, 1.5 sacks and one interception. As a senior, he was All-MAC second team, with 126 tackles, 20 passes defended and two sacks.
Chris was inducted last month into the Marshall Athletics Hall of Fame.
Karrie (Cook) Crocker's career on the court was cut short by an Achilles injury that ended her basketball playing days after she lettered in 2000. Her leadership qualities at the point guard position made her an asset to the Herd, including memorable victories over rival WVU.
After college, Chris was picked in the third round of the NFL Draft (84th pick overall) by Cleveland, where he spent three seasons. After spending two years with Atlanta and one with Miami in 2008, he was signed by the Cincinnati Bengals. Last season, he played both free and strong safety, and had three interceptions and 29 tackles.
Two Septembers ago, the Crockers started a new chapter of their lives as they became parents to a beautiful baby girl, Cydney Grace Crocker. After finishing up a great 2012 season with Cincinnati, Chris was ready to hang up the cleats and call it a career.
The family spent much of the summer building a home in Suwanee, Ga., and Chris started to explore new career opportunities. Then, last week the phone rang. The Bengals were calling and they needed help in the secondary. Chris boarded a plane and headed to Cincinnati for one last run at a Super Bowl ring.
Hometown -- Karrie: Washington, Pa.; Chris: Chesapeake, Va.
Residence -- Suwanee Ga, (suburban Atlanta)
Family -- Cydney Grace, age 2 (Sept. 29, 2011)
Occupation -- Pro football player (Chris); College adjunct faculty (Karrie)
Marshall degree -- Karrie (Masters & Undergrad, Communications, Liberal Arts); Chris (Undergrad, Sports Management & Marketing)
Travis Epling of the Big Green asked the Crockers for some thoughts on a few Herd-related subjects recently:
TE: What is your fondest memory of your time as a student-athlete at Marshall?
Karrie: Team bus rides to games. Being with my teammates who were also my closest friends!
Chris: Last home game in 2002, standing on the field after the game taking in everything and knowing that this will be the last time I will ever play for the Thundering Herd. It was bittersweet and it was an experience that I will never forget.
TE: Who is your favorite Marshall athlete and why?
TE: How often do you get back to Marshall for games, events?
Chris & Karrie: Our goal is twice a year!
TE: Why do you feel your support of the Big Green Scholarship Foundation is crucial to Marshall athletics?
Giving back is so important to all student-athletes! Having the opportunity to go to school and do what you love to do (play sports) is something that many people dream of and never have the opportunity to do. Without the Big Green, we would have never been able to live out our dream of being Division I collegiate athletes.
The Big Green has opened so many doors for us as student athletes but also after our collegiate career. The Big Green has supported us throughout our years after Marshall and for that, we are grateful. The improvements within the athletics program at Marshall have been amazing and we know that without the support of the Big Green it would never have been possible!