Curry shares the first of six special moments in sports

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.

Coming up

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

Other headlines

Albert Wilson will decide his future after the season

Georgia State loses to ODU in Curry’s last home game

– Doug Roberson, AJC and AJC.com. Please follow me on twitter @ajcgsu

31 comments Add your comment

ray gunkel

November 5th, 2012
4:40 am

I have all the respect for BC as a tremendous teacher and leader of young athletes…he set a great example for how to conduct yourself in victory and defeat…best wishes for the future!

Chief Nocahoma

November 5th, 2012
8:37 am

I hope Coach Curry enjoys his well deserved retirement. I hope to see him at the flats next year cheering the Jackets on to another victory. God bless coach.

Orlando Panther

November 5th, 2012
9:13 am

Although the football program hasn’t turned out as we hoped, I still respect Curry taking the job and building a program at a (my) school that hasn’t ever really cared about its athletics programs.

Thank You

Tom

November 5th, 2012
9:15 am

Coach Curry is a great motivational speaker……and not just about football. Watch the video clips here……some powerful (and some funny) stuff.

Tom

November 5th, 2012
9:16 am

Bad HTML tag…sorry…….try this.

GSU Alumni

November 5th, 2012
9:21 am

Thank you coach Curry for your generous supports to Georgia State University.

We, the students thank you for your patient and teaching.

Ted Striker

November 5th, 2012
9:24 am

I have always appreciated Coach Curry’s integrity and insight and leadership. He’s had a positive impact everywhere he’s been.

Nice article, Doug. You do an excellent job.

OldGold1964

November 5th, 2012
9:27 am

(coming out of my self-imposed non-posting pledge): We love ya, Coach. And we have our memories of your active days also. When the season is completed, can we go back to calling you Bill?

Freddie Blassie

November 5th, 2012
10:25 am

Hey Bill,

Tell us about the time you quit at Georgia Tech to go to Alabama because you could not “get to the next level” at Georgia Tech and then Tech’s Homer Rice hired Bobby Ross and Tech won the national championship.
Please stick to the speaking circuit and don’t come sniffing around The Flats for a job again. You are a better talker than doer.

Rob

November 5th, 2012
10:32 am

Thanks coach for everything. You are an inspiration and will be missed.

[...] Curry shares the first of six special moments in sports [...]

Orlando Panther

November 5th, 2012
10:49 am

There are some butthurt Tech fans around here, get over it.

larry scarborough

November 5th, 2012
10:50 am

i remember, coach badget putting bill at fullback, in practice i was in the 9th grade, b-team, bill was a senior, bill came through the line, i hit him like running into a brick wall,, not sure he knew i hit him, memories—

1276jacket

November 5th, 2012
10:50 am

If you read Bobby Dodd’s book you will know why he went to Alabama. Bobby recommended he do that. Check out your facts first.

Chicken Bone

November 5th, 2012
11:29 am

Thanks Coach for everything you’ve done for Georgia State Football! We appreciate and love you and Carolyn and wish you all the best going forward!

Bill Eidson

November 5th, 2012
11:58 am

Nothing about Coach padgett at College Park and the hill he made y’all run up. My father played there right after Coach Curry Left and he use to always tell us about the hill and Coach Padgett….

dry dirt road

November 5th, 2012
12:00 pm

Tech should hire him as AD. He’s not too old at 70. He could bring other Tech players and coaches back to take over PJ’s staff and PJ himself. I did not agree with his black watch defense and the black jerseys the team wore, seing them as 50% of Georgia’s colors, and couldn’t believe it when one of his teams lost to Furman at a BD Stadium under construction. He did get Tech to the All American Bowl, which Tech won. BD was AD when he was older, and that was when I went to Tech from ‘69 to ‘73. He was 100% incognito then. You never saw or heard from him. But you knew he was the AD. Tech needs help pretty bad right now, particularly in football. I’d like for Curry to get rid of Buzz and bring back the yj from when I was at Tech, the same one worn on the T-Club varsity jacket by Chick Granning in the early 60’s after he got his jaw broken by Bama’s Darwin Holt. Buzz tries to make people at Tech forget about that incident, and for what reason, pray tell? Buzz’s wings have become too small. We need the old yj with the big wings so we can fly. We have a grounded football offense running on the ground out of the triple option, when we should go by air more with the shotgun and wildcat, dishing it off the the side wildcat runners or qb keepers for ground runs.

dry dirt road

November 5th, 2012
12:01 pm

Mike S

November 5th, 2012
12:09 pm

dry dirt road…….What the heck was that? Off topic much?

supsalemgr

November 5th, 2012
12:12 pm

I grew up in East Point the same time Bill was at College Park High. They were our biggest rival. However, we all knew each other, especially if you played baseball as EP and CP teams were in the same Babe Ruth league. I also was a teamate with Bill on the College Park American Legion team. He was good person then and I am not surprised at his success. I am pleased to have been a friend with him and I wish him well.

GT Girl

November 5th, 2012
3:04 pm

Love Coach Curry! He has always been a man of integrity. Come back and cheer on the Jackets at GT in your retirement. Go Jackets!

Another 1 win season

November 5th, 2012
3:32 pm

Glad to see Curry end his career just like he started it…winning one game.
As a Georgia fan, I would love for him to be AD at Tech. Besides being a bad football coach and one of the great frauds and charlatans of any era, becoming AD at Tech would prevent him from returning to the broadcast booth – where his sanctimonious diatribes endeared him to no one and solidified the fact the he was the worst color man in the history of television.
Which reminds me of one of the greatest quotes of all-time – that sums up Curry’s coaching ability – when Pepper Rogers, after being replaced as Tech coach by Curry, was asked to sum up his feelings, Rogers said that being replaced as head coach by Curry is like finding out your wife has left you for Don Knotts.

C King

November 5th, 2012
4:25 pm

The worst color man is “Eric Zeier”.

Booze Hound

November 5th, 2012
5:13 pm

Another 1 win season,

Did Rogers really say that? It’s funny and fitting either way. And don’t worry – Curry won’t be back at Tech.

Ronnie Adams

November 5th, 2012
6:32 pm

As a rabid UK football fan. I was always proud of the job that Coach Curry did. Our football program has always been a roller-coaster ride. Coach Curry’s tenure was always an UP and not a DOWN. Wherever retirement carries coach I will always have fond memories of being in the stands at UK with him at the helm.

RICK THOMPSON

November 5th, 2012
7:18 pm

Good man. Good coach. Slam someone else, this man gave his life for young people!

[...] Part I: Winning a state title and finishing the job [...]

[...] Part I: Winning a state title and finishing the job [...]

[...] Part I: Winning a state title and finishing the job [...]

[...] Part I: Winning a state title and finishing the job [...]

[...] Part I: Winning a state title and finishing the job [...]