Bill Curry has lived a life in sports, starting from his days as a player in Little League baseball in College Park, dreaming of one day taking the mound for the Yankees, to a prolific football career at Georgia Tech and then in the NFL with the Packers and Colts, among others.
He continued as a coach at Georgia Tech, followed by stints at Alabama and Kentucky. He accepted the coaching job at Georgia State in 2008 and was charged with building the program.
Curry, who turned 70 last month, will coach his last game on Saturday when the Panthers play at Maine. He announced in August that he was retiring after the season so that he could spend more time with his wife, Carolyn, their children and grandchildren.
He has thousands of memories, but he said there are six that stand out.
I’m going to share one a day with you, today through Saturday.
Esteemed Colleague Steve Hummer is also working on a couple of stories about Curry that will run later this week. I’ll share the links when they appear. They promise to be special.
Anyway, here’s the first special memory Curry shared, in his words:
The state high school basketball championship in the 11th grade, down in Macon.
Gainesville High had Billy Lothridge and Billy Martin, who became All-Americans at Georgia Tech in football.
Both played in the NFL. Lothridge led the NFL in punting. In fact, he was a runner-up for the Heisman. I was a center in 1963.
But this was 1959 and we had played them in the region finals a couple of weeks before that. They beat us by 20.
We beat them in overtime to win the championship. I kind of still get emotional just describing it. It was so much fun.
I was a defensive specialist. I thought I could shoot, but everytime I would go up for a jumper, my coach would shout “No.”
We had two great shooters and we had a wonderful big man who was 6-6, Jimmy Tumlin, who went to Georgia Tech on a basketball scholarship. He had offers from Kentucky, UCLA, he had 100 scholarship offers, he was that good.
We had a really good team. I was always assigned to guard the best shooter on the other team. One of us would always leave the game at some point. Me for fouling out or him injured.
I got to play and I got to be a starter on that great team. I always just cherish that.
That was such a thrilling moment to finish the job.
What happens when you miss a chemistry class at Georgia Tech and the power of paying attention
Vince Lombardi breaks out the yellow pad to teach the power of studying
Johnny Unitas teaches the power of practice
Super Bowl V and the power of the team
The All-American Bowl and the power of leadership
– Doug Roberson, AJC and AJC.com. Please follow me on twitter @ajcgsu