Marshall athletics staff member involves family in day-to-day profession


Contributed by Kim Corriher

Kim Corriher, Gaffney Corriher and Jason Corriher (left-to-right) stand on the field of Dreamstyle Stadium after Marshall’s 31-28 defeat of Colorado State in the Gildan New Mexico Bowl.

Marshall Athletics is a family. Ever since the 1970 plane crash that took the lives of 75, Marshall Athletics has been a family that pulls together through the ups and downs of life. Most people, when they hear Marshall Athletics, think of stadium filled seats on a fall Saturday afternoon or the sound of the pep band playing before a basketball game.  What people do not think about are the families of the hardworking people who make all of the athletic events run smoothly.

Jason Corriher is the assistant athletic director for media relations for Marshall Athletics. He can be found at most sporting events updating statistics, introducing coaches at a press conference or working late in his office preparing for upcoming events.

“There isn’t a lot of time away from here,” Jason Corriher said. “It is a 9-to-5 job but then there are games and competitions. Those happen at night and weekends are full of more competitions and practices. It is a 24/7/365 job. It is a passion, it has to be. But in pursuit of that, it is important to make time for your family.”

Kim Corriher, Jason’s wife, works from home handling government projects and grant funded programs for a group of hospitals in Southeast Ohio. Along with that job, she is also a part of the Marshall University faculty, where she works at the H.E.L.P. Center as a learning specialist and academic tutor. She also teaches a UNI Class.

“I like my husband,” Kim Corriher said. “I like him a lot. It is fun that we get to be in the same place, we both have really busy schedules so it is convenient.”

There was a time in Jason and Kim’s life when they had decided, because of the demand of their professions, that they were not going to have kids. After coming to Marshall, they reevaluated that decision and changed how they had felt in the past.

“If it was going to happen, this was the time to make that happen,” Jason said. “It was the best decision that we have ever made because we are so lucky to have Gaffney as our son, and we are so lucky that it is here at Marshall that we were able to do that.”

A month and a half after Gaffney was born, he attended his first Thundering Herd football game.

“I distinctly remember the very first football game after Gaff was born,” Kim Corriher said. “He was not happy. In the beginning it was really hard, partially because he was a baby. There were some folks in the press box that were not happy about him being there.”

However, his presence in the box gives off a different atmosphere now.

“You get through that,” Kim Corriher said. “You adapt and now it is a different story. Now I think there is a lot of people who delight in seeing him.”

Gaffney is in the press box or around the court most game days, but instead of crying like he did as a newborn, he can be found telling jokes.

“My mommy says it is really nice to do jokes because it makes people happy,” Gaffney Corriher said. “It makes people laugh, the first joke that I ever told was the mermaid joke. ‘What do mermaids wash their tails with? Tide!’”

Gaffney’s first joke was told to previous football player Kaare Vedvik in a hotel lobby at the New Mexico Bowl in 2017.

“From there it just started rolling,” Kim Corriher said.

On the way back from the bowl game, Gaffney and J.C. Price, Marshall football’s defensive line coach, went back-and-forth with what most people call ‘bad dad jokes,’ and the jokes did not stop when they landed back in Huntington.

Gaffney is known as the “joke kid” to many people throughout the Marshall community.

“To be able to make people smile to make people happy,” Jason Corriher said. “I think that if he can add just a little sliver of positivity and make someone chuckle or make someone smile then that’s okay.”

The jokes are something that Gaffney and Kim do together. You can often find her walking behind him as he walks through the gym telling people jokes. Kim also uses her social media as a platform to give birthday shout outs with Gaff jokes to people involved in Marshall Athletics. In the past few weeks, they have even reached out to a member of the FAU football team that was injured while playing in the football game here in Huntington against Marshall.

“There will come a day when the jokes will stop,” Jason said. “It won’t be as fun or it won’t be as funny. But I hope that is a while before that happens because I do enjoy hearing them and seeing them and hearing how much others do as well.”

While Gaff’s favorite sport is football, he is stuck between wanting to be a NASCAR driver or a professional football player when he grows up.  Some of his favorite athletes include Chase Hancock, Jon Elmore and Shayna Gore. He looks to maybe attend Marshall University one day, and he credits that to the sole reason that he made Doc Holliday laugh one time.

The Corrihers both credit Marshall University, Marshall Athletics, Mike Hamrick and Jeff O’Malley to allow them to bring Gaffney to athletic events.

“They bleed green,” Hamrick, Marshall’s athletic director, said. “Jason works very hard, and his wife and Gaff are always around the program and that is good, that is healthy, and that is what I want. I want everyone tied in and dedicated to the program.”

Jason and Kim said they are thankful for the experiences that Gaffney is gaining by growing up around college athletes.

“A lot of the student athletes around here understand that Jason gives a lot of time to the program,” Kim said. “The student-athletes are tremendous with Gaff and they really are embracing of him being around.”

As Gaffney grows up, they said they hope he continues to take advantage of the opportunities around the Marshall community.

“I just hope that he is mindful of these opportunities,” Kim said. “And what a really cool experience that it was. It Is kind of a tough world and if you can be appreciative and thoughtful of all the good things then life is a lot easier.”

Playing sports at the college level might not be where Gaff ends up but the Corriher family has hopes that he will at least get to experience what it is like to be a part of a team at Marshall.

“I believe that what he will get and what he had gotten is the sense of being part of the team, teamwork,” Jason said. “Being able to see that from the inside. As he gets older, I’m not going to force this on him. I’d like for him to get experiences in athletics and in support roles and things like that but if he is drawn to another area or interested in another area then I want him to pursue that. He is going to figure out what he wants to pursue, what he is interested in and what drives his passion. That is the path I am going to encourage him to pursue.”

From Athens, Ohio, where Jason previously worked, to Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia, Jason credits the entire region to be a part of their home now.

“We have spent 12 years in this part of the country,” Jason said. “Even if you are not a sports person you understand how important Marshall athletics is to everybody in this area. To be able to see it firsthand and to have your child grow up in that area. In an area that feels that way about the people who support this great university, that is immeasurable. You don’t find it everywhere, and it has been a truly great experience and I hope one that can continue for a while.”

Gaff wants to ask, “How do baby birds learn to fly?”

They just wing it.

Sydney Shelton can be contacted at [email protected]