HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - There was a time when J.C. Price spent a full day's work with the unforgiving concrete under his feet, not supple artificial turf.
Sure, he could spend a little time under the sun, but instead of selling kids on a college football program, he sold cars in Pulaski, Va.
It put a little extra scratch in his pocket, but Marshall's first-year defensive line coach - then in the outset of his post-playing career - strived for something more than a hefty commission.
"I started out in the NFL and that stood for 'not for long,'" said Price, who was a 1996 third-round draft pick of the Carolina Panthers after starring as a defensive tackle at Virginia Tech. "When you get out of the NFL you are kind of in denial about it being over and I kind of bounced around a bit.
"When I sold cars, I was miserable."
Price, 39, split time between the Panthers and Arizona Cardinals in two NFL seasons before calling it quits. The Dunkirk, Md., native returned to the Blacksburg, Va., area where he played college ball.
He volunteered his services to a nearby high school.
Price joined legendary Virginia prep football coach Norm Lineburg at Radford High School from 1999-2001 and parlayed that into a graduate assistant spot at Virginia Tech.
"That jumpstarted my career," Price said.
By 2004 he had a full-time defensive line gig at James Madison, where he stayed for eight seasons.
Price said the opportunity with the Thundering Herd was a "no-brainer."
He is the third defensive line coach in three years under Coach Doc Holliday, who lost Sean Cronin to Temple after his inaugural season and Fred Tate to Texas Tech in February.
Price said Mark Gale, Marshall's director of football operations, lobbied for Price for the Herd's vacancy, and Holliday knew the JMU assistant from his playing days with the Hokies.
In the early 90s, Price was a Virginia Tech captain, first-team all-Big East selection and third-team All-American while Holliday was an assistant at West Virginia.
"Coach Holliday called Coach Foster," Price said, referring to Virginia Tech defensive coordinator Bud Foster. "That got the ball rolling and now I'm here."
* * *
HOLLIDAY HAD mixed reviews after Tuesday's practice, the seventh of 15 allotted sessions this spring.
The defense came away with three interceptions, one each by linebacker Cortez Carter, cornerback Keith Baxter and cornerback Monterius Lovett.