Thursday, 31 May 2012 13:26

Former Herd player Chris Massey, Curt Warner and Mike Linsky Named To WV Coaches HOF

Written by  Woody Woodrum

From the West Virginia Coaches Association release

Additional Material for Herd Insider

By Woody Woodrum, HI Sr. Editor

May 31, 2012


CHARLESTON - The WV Coaches Association will present the 2012 WV Coaches Association Hall of Fame at this year's WV North-South Football Classic, and the list of Hall of Fame members includes a current NFL player who played his football at Marshall University and at the former East Bank High School, just outside of Charleston, as well as a three-time state champion high school football coach (who has a Master’s from Marshall) and the quite possibly the best running back the Mountain State has ever produced.

The Chicago Bears, and former Marshall, long-snapper Chris Massey is joined in the Hall of Fame class by running back Curt Warner, who starred at the former Pineville H.S., Penn State and for the Seattle Seahawks in the NFL, and Mike Linsky, who earned a Master’s at Marshall while coaching the former Duval High School in Lincoln County to two state championships in Class A football.

Guests at the 2012 WV North-South Football Classic and 2012 WV Coaches Association banquet will include former head football coaches Bob Pruett of Marshall University, the Herd’s all-time winningest coach and a former player for the Herd and for the Flying Eagles of Woodrow Wilson-Beckley H.S., and College Football Hall of Fame member Don Nehlen of West Virginia University.

Joining the two coaches will be former pro football players, and Kanawha Valley natives and residents, Dennis Harrah of the Los Angeles Rams and Carl Lee of the Minnesota Vikings and New Orleans Saints, who also played at Marshall 1979-82, where he was All-Southern Conference for two seasons at safety.

Lee, named to the Vikings 50th Anniversary team at cornerback, was selected in the seventh round of the draft in 1983, and was named to the Pro Bowl three times in 12 seasons.

Harrah played at Stonewall Jackson High School in Charleston and then in college for the Hurricanes of Miami, Fla. He was a first-round draft pick of the Rams in 1975, and played for 14 seasons.

All of these special guests will sign autographs before and during the game.  The Honorable Earl Ray Tomblin, Governor of the state of West Virginia, who will be participating in this year's coin toss for the game on June 16 at Laidley Field/University of Charleston Stadium in Charleston’s East End.

The bios for each 2012 inductee are listed below:



Chris Massey, a former Marshall long-snapper from 1997-2001, is one of three former West Virginia High School football greats to by named to the WV Coaches Association' 2012 WV Coaches Association Hall of Fame at this years North-South Football All-Star Classic June in Charleston. photo provided by WV Coaches Association


Chris Massey was a 1997 graduate of East Bank. During his high school football career, he was a team captain, three-time All-Conference pick, two-time All Kanawha County and two time All-State player.

In 1996, Massey earned Honorable Mention All-American honors and was also a three-year letter winner in baseball, three-time All-Conference and was All State in 1996.

During his senior season, Massey recorded 167 tackles and rushed for 1,017 yards and 19 touchdowns as the Pioneers went on to capture the 1996 AA State Championship.

Massey played in the 1997 Annual North-South All-Star Classic, then was a walk-on for the Thundering Herd in 1997.

In 1998, he took over the long-snapping duties for the Herd for the next four seasons.

During his career at Marshall, the Herd appeared in four Motor City Bowls and one GMAC Bowl, winning the final four in a row, and won four Mid-American Conference football championships.

Massey earned Special Teams Player of the Week honors in the MAC five times and was voted Special Teams MVP in 2000.

In his red-shirt senior season in 2001, Massey earned multiple awards: he was named team captain, GTE Academic All-American, to the Mid-American Conference All-Academic Team, was a National Scholar-Athlete Award Finalist (170 awarded nationwide), won MU’s Buck Harless Student-Athlete Award and Herd football’s Tom Stark Leadership Award as well as being named a National Strength Collegiate All-American.

Massey has Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice and a Masters Degree in Athletic Administration from Marshall.

Massey was a seventh round draft pick of the St. Louis Rams in 2002 and is a 10-year NFL veteran.

He has appeared in 144 NFL games and has made 1,112 out of 1,113 clean snaps. He was with the Rams from 2002-10, was released in August 2011 as the longest tenured Ram and then spent 2011 first with the Carolina Panthers, but finished the bulk of the season with the Chicago Bears.

Massey won Player of the Week honors with the Bears in the game with Denver, and is hoping to .

Under Rams coach Mike Martz, Massey also contributed at fullback, where he shared the backfield with Hall of Famer, Marshall Faulk. In 2004, the Rams captured the NFC Western Division title.

He was selected Rams Player of the Week seven times and was a team captain from 2006-2010. In 2008, Massey was selected to the USA Today’s NFL All-Joe Team.

Chris is the son of Gary and Nancy Massey and has one brother, Brian. He is married to the former Sarah Childers of Poca, W.Va., and they have two daughters, Maddyx (7) and Maybre (3) and are expecting their third child in July.


Mike Linsky coached Duval High School to two Single A State Football titles, then coached John Marshall to its only AAA State Football title before passing away. photo provided by WV Coaches Association


Mike Linsky had a career as a football coach that spanned over thirty years.

During these years he had the opportunity to coach and mentor numerous young men. It was on the football field and in the locker room that he taught them about life, leadership, faith, winning, losing and how to play the game.

Coach Linsky strived to push his players to excel both in the classroom and on the football field.

Coach Linsky coached at Duval High School, where he spent 11 seasons. He led the football team to two State Class A titles, in 1978 (27-14 over Doddridge County) and 1982 (28-15 over Sistersville).

It was in the 1982 championship game his team broke Sistersville’s 33-game winning streak.

In 1983, Coach Linsky took the head coaching position at John Marshall High School, where he won the school’s only AAA state football championship at Wheeling Island Stadium in 1996, beating Capital 29-22.

During his coaching career, Linsky compiled a 183-136 coaching record.

He served as the South head football coach in 1983, following his second state A title at Duval, and the North head football coach in the 1997, after winning the AAA title in 1996, for the West Virginia North-South game.

It was also in 1997 that Coach Linsky was awarded the Coach of the Year Award and coached the West Virginia team for the All Star game.

He was one of only two coaches to ever receive this award from John Marshall High School.

In1996, he was awarded the Upper Ohio Vaïley Dapper Dan Man of the Year award. Coach Línsky also served as the West Virginia Coaches Association president for a number of years.

Coach Linsky was a 1968 graduate of Sherman High School, Seth, WV and a 1972 graduate of Hampden Sydney College, Hampden Sydney, Va.

Linsky began his teaching career immediately upon graduation with a bachelor’s from Hampden-Sydney at a small school in Amelia, Virginia.

After a few years in Virginia, Coach returned to his home state of West Virginia, where he began his legacy at Duval High School, and he also earned his masters degree from Marshall University at this time,

Coach was survived by his parents, Tony and Costella Linsky, his wife, Sandy, and his four children:  Jeremy Dunlap; Lori Dougherty and her husband, Steve; Mika Linsky Ward and her husband, Brandon; and Cheisea Linsky; his brother Tim Linsky, his sister, Pam Mullett and her husband, Bob.

Linsky also left six grandchildren: Brendon and Madison Dougherty; Caleb and Connor Dunlap; and Reese and Hayden Ward; as well as two nephews: Brace Mullett, and his wife, Stephanie; and Tony Lee Linsky.


Curt Warner was a star at Pineville High School, Penn State University and with the Seattle Seahawks in the NFL. photo provided by WV Coaches Association


Curt Warner was the No. 1 pick in 1983 (third overall, behind John Elway and Eric Dickerson) for and then played for the Seattle Seahawks (1983-89) and appeared in seven games for the Los Angeles Rams in 1990 in his NFL career.

Warner topped 1,400 yards rushing in both 1983 and in 1986, and rushed for over 1,000 yards in four of his eight seasons.

He was named to the Pro Bowl in 1983, 1986 and 1987 and was first team All-Pro in those same years, and second team in 1985.

He rushed for 6,844 yards and 56 touchdowns in the National Football League.

He was an All-American Selection in both 1981 and 1982 at Penn State University, selected by Walter Camp and United Press International in 1981 and by Senior Team in 1982.

Warner was named the greatest running back in Seattle history by the in 2009.

In 1983, Warner led the Seahawks to its first AFC Championship game, losing to the Los Angeles Raiders. In 1984, Warner hurt his knee, but bounced back with All-Pro seasons the next three years.

In 1981, Warner rushed for 1,044 yards and scored nine touchdowns.

He led Penn State to its first national title in 1982 with a victory over Georgia in the 1983 Sugar Bowl, then playing in the 1983 Hula Bowl for college seniors.

He also helped the Nittany Lions to bowl wins over Ohio State (1980 Fiesta) and USC (1982 Fiesta) in two other bowl games.

In 1982, Warner rushing for 1,041 yards and eight touchdowns and catching 24 passes for 335 yards and five scores. Warner gained 100 or more yards 18 times in his career (18-0 in those games), including the final five games.

Warner was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2009, becoming the 22nd member of Penn State to be inducted.

He entered the Hall the same year as Marshall’s Troy Brown, West Virginia’s Major Harris and former Syracuse coach Dick MacPherson, who commented his team had tried many games to slow Warner, without success.

The former Nittany Lion led the team in rushing three consecutive seasons and totaled 3,398 rushing yards (3,872 yards, including bowls) while PSU was a passing team under fellow CFB HOF member and Penn State quarterback Todd Blackledge. Warner also ran back three kicks for touchdown, a Penn State record, and averaged 28.8 yards per return (32 returns in career).

His Penn State career rushing record was not broken until 2010 by Evan Royster of Penn State, and Warner held 43 career records when he left PSU.

Former Penn State assistant coach, the man who recruited Warner, and Director of Athletics Tim Curley recalls how he got head coach Joe Paterno to go down to the coalfields of West Virginia to watch Warner play a basketball game for Pineville High School.

"He scored 30-something points that night," Curley said. "The night we were there, he put on a show -- just tremendous athleticism and a great all-around athlete, not just a football athlete.

“He put on a great show for coach Paterno. We knew we had something special once he committed to us."

Warner rushed for 391 yards and two touchdowns as a frosh, then had 922 yards and six touchdowns for the 10-2 Penn State team of 1980.

Warner was very appreciative of the opportunity to play for Paterno. "I really don't think his players fully appreciate Joe Paterno until they leave," he said. "After you have left Penn State and are out in the world, then you begin to understand the things he talked about and taught us. It was a privilege to play for Joe Paterno He is a great person and a great coach. He prepares you for life and he has my utmost respect,” said Warner in 2009.

He also picked up his Bachelor’s in Speech Communication in 1983 at PSU.

Today, Warner is a running backs coach for Camas (Washington) High School and also owns an Chevrolet automobile dealership as well as president of the Curt Warner Autism Foundation. Camas is near Portland, Oregon.

Warner also has contributed $1,500 a year for a scholarship presented by the Clark County Chapter of the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame.

He and his wife, Ana, have three sons, Jonathan and twins Austin and Christian, and a daughter, Isabella.

Warner now makes his home now in Washington state - a long way, figuratively and geographically, from Wyoming County, W.Va., where Warner grew up.

A very small school, Pineville had only 90 students when Warner attended.

Today, the school is consolidated with Mullens, Herndon and Glen Rogers high schools to form Wyoming East High School in a county with only 715 people (334 households and 219 families) in the 2000 census in a rural area with a median income for a household of only $31,000.

Warner was a sensational running back, and defensive back, at Pineville, but many thought the running back from the small school had profited from a lightweight schedule of other small schools and, to be honest, there was some bitterness about Warner not signing with West Virginia University.

The 1979 North-South game featured the new and improved Laidley Field, and was just the fourth year the All-Star game had returns (no game from 1956-1975).

Warner led the South past the North, 15-8, silencing his critics effectively with 23 carries and over 100 yards on the ground along with two touchdowns.

He was named the Kennedy Award winner as the best player in the state of West Virginia following his senior season at Pineville in 1978.

That season, Warner set the West Virginia single-season rushing record of 2,532 yards in 12 games, not broken until 20 years later by Weirton High School’s Quincy Wilson, who topped 3,000 yards in 1998.

That season, he led Pineville to a 9-1 regular season record and a No. 7 ranking in the state. Pineville upset No. 2 Mannington, 28-20, in the first round but fell in the semi-finals to Doddridge County, 27-18.

By the way, Doddridge Co. would then lose in the finals to Mike Linsky’s Duval team, 27-14).

Warner was all-state in both football and basketball at Pineville.

In 2003, Warner was ranked as the 17th most important athlete in West Virginia history when Sports Illustrated named the Top 50 for each state.

Last modified on Monday, 11 June 2012 12:55

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