Following Brent Pry being announced as Virginia Tech’s new head football coach, he was quick to address the defensive side of his coaching staff. Tuesday’s announcement was perhaps the most shocking, but it might’ve been the best – and most heartwarming. It also underscores how unconventional, yet smart his approach in hiring a staff has been.
J.C. Price – who has quickly become a spokesman for the program, thanks in large part to his stint as the interim head coach – and Pierson Prioleau were quickly retained by Pry. Soon thereafter, Shawn Quinn (Savannah State head coach/defensive coordinator) and Derek Jones (Texas Tech co-DC and defensive backs) were brought on board.
The latest addition is Chris Marve. The 32-year-old up-and-comer was most recently the linebackers coach at Florida State, after stints in similar roles at Vanderbilt and Mississippi State from 2016-19 and as a graduate assistant at Vanderbilt for the two prior seasons.
Given how early it is in Marve’s career, it’s tough to gauge how good of a coach he is. However, Florida State’s run defense improved by more than 50 yards per game this season compared to 2020. He also guided Willie Gay Jr. to a second-round selection in the 2020 NFL Draft during his tenure as a run game coordinator in Starkville, Mississippi.
Marve has been viewed as a rising star for a few years. He was named to the 247 Sports “30 under 30” of coaches in 2017 and 2018, as well as ESPN’s “40 under 40” in 2018.
Perhaps more relevant within the context of his new job, Marve was a highly-productive linebacker at Vanderbilt from 2008-11. He was also a team captain in his final two seasons – the last of which came under the James Franklin regime, with Brent Pry as their co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach.