Published Thu, Sep 15, 2011 1:37 pm Dateline
Updated Thu, Sep 15, 2011 1:58 pm
It is not so much a house divided as it is a press box divided.
Jason Corriher, Marshall's assistant athletic director for media relations - more commonly known as a sports information director - has been on the job in Huntington since Aug. 1. He came to Marshall from Ohio University, the Herd's football opponent at 7 p.m. this Saturday under the lights at Peden Stadium.
He will return to Athens, Ohio, wearing a different shade of green than he has worn for the past four years. That, he admits, might be awkward, but will be mild compared to working in the same press box as his wife, Kim Gaffney Corriher, who is completing her contract with OU.
She is a learning specialist working in academic support for Bobcats football players.
This is the Battle for the Bell, but only one Corriher will retain a year of bragging rights and get a gleeful postgame bell-ringing opportunity.
"I will probably talk more trash if Ohio wins just because this Ohio team feels a little more like mine than the Marshall team does his," Kim said. "I was with (OU linebacker) Noah Keller in 2009, walking him from the locker room to the postgame interviews after the bowl game (a 21-17 loss to Marshall), and I had never seen him with that look on his face.
"One of the reasons I decided to stay and work out my contract is these are my guys. The guys that are seniors were freshmen the first year we were in Athens and I take it very personally."
Jason appreciates that.
"She wants Ohio to win in the worst way," he said. "I understand that. If anybody understands that, I understand that. When you are working with these kids every day, you see how hard they work and you get to know them. You see the coaches and how much they put into it. You can't help but root for them."
The Corrihers met as students at North Carolina State in your traditional boy-meets-female-sportswriter tale. They were each working in the press box at a Wolfpack football game that November - Jason in media relations, Kim for the school newspaper - fitting considering their journey together since.
Jason landed his first full-time sports information job at Marist in 2004, and Kim tagged along to Poughkeepsie, N.Y., ditching sports writing along the way.
In 2007 the husband-wife team arrived at OU. No matter the school, Kim has been at Jason's side lending a hand in the press box. Days off do not exist to SIDs, so Kim went to work in the press box to ease the burden on the man she simply calls "husband" and spend time with him in the process.
Kim knew Jason's job so thoroughly that after he departed for Marshall, she helped with the transition in the communications office at Ohio.
"I have always embraced the idea of being a trailing spouse," Kim said. "Some people don't like that idea, but I'm OK with it. As corny as it sounds, my biggest commitment in life is Jason.
"The way he puts it is he is like the owner of a sports franchise and gets to decide where we move and I am the president and general manager and handle everything else.
"It's pretty much true."
Again, Jason appreciates that.
"Sometimes you have a situation where you have a spouse who tolerates what you do, but does not love what you do or isn't involved with what you do," he said. "She and I are a perfect match from that perspective and that's not lost on me. I value that every day I get."
But, back to the game ... How will Jason handle being a visitor in a town where he still has a house and his wife continues to work and live?
"I'm sure it'll be more than a little weird," he said. "The only thing I can relate it to for me is that at Marist, in the 2007 NIT, we played N.C. State in Reynolds Coliseum.
"I don't know how coaches do that. I grew up an N.C. State fan from birth and cheered for N.C. State my entire life, went to school there, loved it and all of a sudden you are back at the place you went to school, the place you worshipped, working for the other side.
"It sounds weird, but the thought of wincing at an N.C. State basket was a different feeling. I know that is going to happen Saturday, but you are a professional and you move on."
Ohio coaches and players have enjoyed some good-natured ribbing regarding Jason's return.
"There has been some 'traitor' talk," Kim said. "It is all in good fun because everyone there knows, deep down, Jason cares about them and wants them to do well on the field and in life."
Jason has the bell - controlled by the previous game's winner - in his office in Huntington. Marshall has won six consecutive in the series.
Before Saturday's game the couple plans to take a picture with the bell, each wearing their school's garb.
They'll then head to the press box which, as it seems, is their home - no matter the zip code, no matter the school colors.
"I did remind him that the bell is not really his," Kim said. "He's not been a part of a win yet."
Courtesy: Chuck McGill, Charleston Daily Mail