SEATTLE — It doesn’t take long to figure out David Crisp Sr. takes pride in his family’s athletic legacy.
The latest member of this group is his son, Washington Huskies point guard David Crisp. But there’s more.
David Crisp’s father, Ray Crisp Sr., was among the first African-American football players in Marshall’s history. David Sr. and his two brothers — George and Ray Jr. — played for The Herd during the 1970s.
“I was a little surprised he wasn’t a football player,” David Sr. said. “My dad played at Marshall. Actually, (Basketball Hall of Fame member and Marshall alum) Hal Greer introduced my mom to my dad.”
Ray Crisp Sr., who was a lineman, enrolled in 1955. His career was short-lived. He quit football after suffering a substantial broken leg, according to The Herd Insider.
He would send his three sons to the school in Huntington, West Virginia, and each made an impact.
Ray Jr. was a receiver from 1975 through 1978. He finished with 86 career receptions, 1,364 yards and nine touchdowns.
George played defensive back from 1978 through 1980.
David Sr. was a receiver and a running back from 1977 through 1980. Crisp Sr. had 308 career rushing yards and 94 receiving yards for two touchdowns.
“That’s one thing I respect about my father,” Crisp said. “He never pressured me or made me feel uncomfortable with any decisions I made sports-wise. He was always like, ‘Do what makes you happy.’”
Crisp said he played football until he was in eighth grade. He played quarterback, receiver, running back and even a little bit of safety.
There were times in high school he came close to going out for the team but chose to stick with basketball.
“It was cold, for one, playing football outside,” said Crisp, listing reasons for why basketball eventually won out. “And then, basketball was really fun. I really started understanding the game and coming into my own playing basketball. So, I figured, I might as well choose that one.”
Crisp said his dad has always been among his biggest supporters and once he saw his son’s potential, he pushed for him to succeed.
The 6-foot guard burst onto the local basketball scene when he helped Clover Park to a 2A state championship.
Crisp transferred to state power Rainier Beach and led the Vikings to a state title alongside former UW teammate and San Antonio Spurs guard Dejounte Murray.
He spent a year at Brewster Academy (N.H.) and guided the school to the 2015 National Prep Championship.
A three-star prospect, he was the No. 4 player in Washington and the 32nd point guard in the nation.
He had offers from Creighton, Nebraska, Princeton and Texas A&M until signing with Washington.
“At a young age, I understood,” Crisp said of his family ties to Marshall. “I thought it was so cool he played with his brothers. … My uncle with how he still had records, it was cool to know my dad and family was part of that.”
Crisp said he never got a chance to speak with his grandfather, who has since passed, about his experience at Marshall.
His father told him those stories.
Marshall, over the last 20 years, has increased its profile in the public spotlight. The football program grew in popularity due to having players like Byron Leftwich, Chad Pennington and Randy Moss make an impact in the NFL.
The school was also the focus of the 2006 film “We Are Marshall”, which deals with how the school revived its football program in the wake of the 1970 plane crash that killed 37 players, 25 boosters, five coaches, two trainers, the school’s athletic director and the flight crew.
Crisp, who grew up hearing stories about the plane crash, said he was a child when the movie was released but remembers the impact it had on his family.
“It was crazy to me that it was a movie and it was coming out,” Crisp said. “Knowing we had close ties to that time and Marshall, it was a just real cool feeling.”