Bill Curry learning some things hard way at Georgia State

Bill Curry's team already has lost as many games this year (1-5) as it did last season (6-5).

Bill Curry's team already has lost as many games this year (1-5) as it did last season (6-5).

Five straight losses, but not one person has thrown a brick through Bill Curry’s window. There’s a reason for that.

“I don’t think they know where my window is,” he said, smiling.

Obscurity has its advantages. But it’s Season 2 at Georgia State, and reality has hit Curry over the head like a sledgehammer. He turns 69 years old Friday. Football has consumed his post-crawling life, and when he first took on this project he figured there was little left to learn. But there he was Tuesday, using words like “blindsided” and “stunned” when answering questions about his fledgling program’s season. A five-game losing streak wasn’t on the blueprint.

“It’s been a quantum leap in learning for this old guy,” Curry said. “But we’re living in America. We’ve got to win.”

In the shadows of the SEC, ACC and almost everything else, Georgia State has followed a 6-5 first season with a 1-5 start this year. Saturday’s game against South Alabama is homecoming. The fact attendance at home games also has dropped off might be a bigger concern than the product itself, but Curry can’t fix everything. This team poses enough problems.

After an impressive first season, he anticipated the Panthers were ready to step up in competition and face more experienced teams. He was wrong. It mostly has shown in key moments of games, particularly in the fourth quarter. That State has been outscored 57-7 in the final quarter isn’t mere coincidence.

If you’re a proud and competitive individual like Curry, you don’t take this reality well. Maybe a torch-carrying mob hasn’t shown up at his front door or thrown a rock through his window (as one Alabama knucklehead did after only one loss, not five, in 1988). But this has kind of been a shot to his ego. He prides himself on reading people and situations and certainly knowing football.

“I would’ve prepared the guys entirely differently,” he said. “I just believe if I could have anticipated some of these things, I could’ve headed it off. Practicing situations: ‘It’s the fourth quarter. We’re being manhandled. What are you going to do about it?’ It never crossed my mind.”

Curry is taking one for the team. Great coaches do things like this. Fact is, no matter what Curry did, most of these growing pains were inevitable. The Panthers are so early in the building process and they’re working with athletes who are in this program for a reason. Maybe a more established team thought they were too small, or too slow, or not smart enough. Maybe there was a question about toughness, resolve or leadership.

That’s not meant to be a knock at the players. Every team has them. The difference at major programs is they’re mixed among the elite. There are others to lead them. There are others to say, “Hey, this is what we did four years ago.” There are alumni to say, “This is what we did back in ’62.”

Curry has more stories than anybody. He has stories spanning Bobby Dodd to Vince Lombardi. But without a program resume to draw from, run-through-a-wall speeches about potential have their limitations in Year 2.

It was a good start. Georgia State opened the season with a 41-7 win over Clark Atlanta. But then came a pounding in the Georgia Dome by Old Dominion 40-17. The Panthers played the Monarchs last season, and they’re only in their third season themselves. Two weeks later, State was leveled by Houston 56-0, but Curry lamented: “We were really stunned before we ever get to Houston. We were stunned by Old Dominion. Our confidence was shaken. We’re still fighting out of that.”

The old coach added, “We will learn how to win again.”

He says he’s not going anywhere. His five-year commitment to the start-up program runs through next season, and he said nothing that has happened changes that.

“I’ll be 70 next year, but I don’t feel old. I feel good,” he said. “I still get up at five and go to work. I’m not going to tell you that it hasn’t been surprisingly difficult, but it’s been so worth doing.”

A win would make him feel better. Somebody may find his office one day.

By Jeff Schultz

Follow me on Twitter (@JeffSchultzAJC). Friend me on Facebook (Facebook.com/JeffSchultzAJC).

211 comments Add your comment

GTT

October 18th, 2011
4:39 pm

GTT

October 18th, 2011
4:42 pm

He’ll get it back on track.

Yikes

October 18th, 2011
4:44 pm

QB issues + front loaded schedule=issues

GSU will respond just fine, and likely finish with 5 wins.

Dean Malenko

October 18th, 2011
4:45 pm

Your lack of knowledge about the the GSU program is comical.

Ole Smoky

October 18th, 2011
4:47 pm

I’d send my son to play for him..Pretty sure he’s still a good coach & I know he’s a good man !

The American Dream

October 18th, 2011
4:48 pm

Who cares about GSU?

Stick Stickley

October 18th, 2011
4:55 pm

You’re right, please give us another article about Todd Grantham

Panthersville.com

October 18th, 2011
5:03 pm

Stick with it, and come out better for it on the other side……or at least that’s what I keep telling myself.

David

October 18th, 2011
5:11 pm

PEOPLE; please understant this: Georgia State started football last year. It takes time to build a football program. Georgia State will be fine, they have a great place to play home football games. They have a great state to recruit in. State of Georgia always is in the top ten in high school talent. All GSU need is fan support by the Alumni and other local support, and they will be a top program for years to come. Believe me, I said the same thing about University of South Florida some fifteen years ago.

corey

October 18th, 2011
5:16 pm

Is there any evidence of this wearing on him enough to retire any time soon? I hope he sticks with it..

JacketFanMarcus

October 18th, 2011
5:27 pm

1. Georgia State has a football team? When I was at Tech, it was a commuter school.

2. GSU? Isn’t that Georgia Southern??? This is a Georgia State blog post….

Formul8or

October 18th, 2011
5:37 pm

Maybe he should ask Georgia Southern for some tips. Their head coach came in and revamped the team completely and is undefeated in his second year

Cdpridg

October 18th, 2011
5:43 pm

An article on GSU….lol….no more Todd Grantham…..kinda light today…I am hoping for an article a day this week on mean mean ole Todd…come Shultzie buck up and let’s try again pal!?

wdm

October 18th, 2011
5:50 pm

This is one article that Schultz should excel in because it is a topic he knows much better than most…losing. When you are a loser like Schultz, you like to pick out another loser and tout them before the masses in an effort build yourself up. But if history is the greatest teacher, then time will show that Curry will win but Schultz will keep losing. Schultz tried to get Richt fired. He loss. Richt isn’t going anywhere. Schultz pulled out the super slow mo youtube clip on Grantham to try and diminish him. It didn’t work. As it turns out, the Vanderbilt coach was the one who was yelling at Ga football players and Grantham was standing up for his players. But Schultz’s continuous berating of the home team makes one wonder why? Why would a state newspaper columnist try so hard to tarnish his own state’s team and ignore the equally absurd action of the other teams coach? Is it because Schultz has a dirty diaper and needs to be changed, or is it because he was always picked last growing up…the answer is because Schultz is a loser…also has been, always will be.

5150 UOAD

October 18th, 2011
5:51 pm

Me might be learning some things, but he is TEACHING even More. He is teaching young men to Become MEN of Character & Class. He can be very Intense and never act like Grantham.

Pantherjack

October 18th, 2011
6:05 pm

It’s been a tough season, but I still feel like we’ve got the right coach for this program.

Having more students living on campus downtown will help future attendance, and playing better and (somewhat) better known competition will help the program grow over the next 5 years in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA).

Either you’re interested in growing something, or you’re into cheering for an established program. I like seeing this program start from scratch, but it takes patience that few sports fans have (especially in this title-starved town.)

blazerdawg

October 18th, 2011
6:16 pm

Good article. The status of the Panther program reminds me of Curry’s early coaching stint at GIT. I am certain that he will turn it around. He is a great person, coach and GSU is a wonderful school. AJC should not hit State too hard on attendance for a few years; even though they are off from last year they are still among the better attended programs in FCS.

Benjamin

October 18th, 2011
6:33 pm

Curry’s a class act. If anyone threw a rock into his general area now, I’d hope that guy would be tracked down and hung by his toes over the 50 yard line at the Dome…

Harvey D. Pooka

October 18th, 2011
6:40 pm

Keep the faith ….. Coach Curry IS The Right Man and he’ll get this program (back) in good shape.

nelson ash

October 18th, 2011
6:40 pm

Bill Curry has always been a losing bum. Lost at GT, lost at Al, lost at UK so what do you think the bum could do for start up GS. He’s a looser!

Tricked Again

October 18th, 2011
6:49 pm

Odd that anyone would be surprised by these results. That .410 winning percentage at GaSt is shocking, huh? That is until you look at his .440 career mark. But he is a nice guy, so to hell with the facts.

[...] Alabama vs. LSU The Hottest Ticket In College Football A Proposal For SEC Football Realignment Curry Learning Some Things Hard Way At Georgia State Nine Straight & Counting For Ole Miss Profanity Is A Way Of Saying You Care Danny Wuerffel [...]

GS is in Statesboring

October 18th, 2011
7:02 pm

Curry will get GSU back on track. Stability at QB is a must from now on though.

Norm

October 18th, 2011
7:06 pm

I have faith in Coach Curry. He will turn this team around.

MATHDAWG

October 18th, 2011
7:09 pm

BILL CURRY HAS NEVER BEEN A GOOD FOOTBALL COACH. HE WAS A GREAT PLAYER, BUT HIS COACHING RECORD IS NOT GOOD. I THINK HE TOOK THIS JOB BECAUSE NOBODY ELSE WANTED IT. GA STATE IS STILL A “NIGHT SCHOOL BUSINESS COLLEGE” AND WILL ALWAYS BE SOMETHING LIKE THAT. NOTHING WRONG WITH THE ACADEMICS, BUT JUST FORGET ABOUT ATHLETICS HERE.

MATHDAWG

October 18th, 2011
7:10 pm

Enter your comments here

GS is in Statesboring

October 18th, 2011
7:17 pm

The night school business college is the second largest university in this state.

dawg4u

October 18th, 2011
7:19 pm

Bill Curry is one of the most interesting people I have ever had the privilege to listen to. He played at Georgia Tech under Bobby Dodd and also in the pro’s under both Vince Lombardi and Don Shula and has a wealth of knowledge about all things concerning football and life and is arguably one of the great storyteller’s of all time. I don’t mean telling lies but telling about his life in college and in the NFL. The anecdotes about football and life are priceless. There is a great article in a recent issue of Sport’s Illustrated about Curry and the famed writer George Plimpton. A friend of mine told of a conversation with Curry just telling some things about his life in college and the NFL. The conversation lasted about one hour and my friend said at the end of that hour he realized it was one of the best times he had ever had just listening. Good luck Coach Curry at GSU!

sidslid

October 18th, 2011
7:21 pm

Where was the Toomer Terminator the night the brick was thrown?

dawg4u

October 18th, 2011
7:29 pm

Also fine column Jeff!

kool aid

October 18th, 2011
7:37 pm

even if Ga St won all their games this season, does anyone give a blank? Why does anyone work after retirement age anyway? Especially head coaches who have had plenty of money handed to them in contracts. And if they are fired, they especially get a hand full on their way out the door.

GS is in Statesboring

October 18th, 2011
7:48 pm

Even if Georgia State won all their games, it wouldn’t make kool aid any less of a virgin.

RBigFish

October 18th, 2011
8:06 pm

One question Schultz…..WHO CARES ?

GSWhocares

October 18th, 2011
8:29 pm

Seriously? Who cares? GaSt people brag about how big their school and 30k enrollment is, in a city with, what, 5 million people in metro Atlanta? Yet, you can’t draw stink to that garbage program. Nobody is showing up, relatively and figuratively. And you can forget competing in the CAA. I’m serious. It’s time for this great University to get serious. You are embarrassing yourself. As much as I’d like to see this work, it’s not. It’s embarrassing. It’s not even close to competitive. GaSt, with great law and MBA programs and an improving baseball and soccer program, have a lot to be proud of. Football should not be included here.

Calhoundawg

October 18th, 2011
8:34 pm

Jeff Schmultz, the “Jerry Springer” of sportswriters. I want to see your article on the inexplicable behavior of one James Franklin after the Georgia game last weekend. Sorry, Jeff, your already shaky credibility took a severe blow this week. Although, in your defense, the headline of the sports page in the Chattanooga Times-Free Press, which I now receive here in Calhoun after the AJC decided they couldn’t afford the gas a couple of years ago, reads; “SEC Investigates Grantham Scene.” I suppose I’ll also have to also ask them why it doesn’t read; “SEC Investigates Franklin Scene.” Once again, Jeff, I’m waiting. Do the right thing — you’ll sleep better at night.

GSU is in Atlanta

October 18th, 2011
9:05 pm

@gsuwhocares

The 5 million people in metro Atlanta did not care about the Falcons when they lost for most of their existence, same with the Braves, and the same goes with every team that does not win, even the people in Stateboro who follow Southern. Everything takes time and I have no doubt that GSU will get the football program back on track and continue to make GSU alumni proud of athletics.

Calhoundawg

October 18th, 2011
9:12 pm

Never mind writing that article on James Franklin, Jeff, “The Tennesseean” already did it for you. James Franklin is bigger than the Georgia Bulldogs, the SEC, and college football altogether. That must certainly be the reason why you didn’t bother. Please accept my sincere and heartfelt apologies.

http://www.tennessean.com/article/20111018/SPORTS0602/310180020/Vandy-coach-stands-behind-post-game-actions?odyssey=tab|topnews|text|Sports

Huh

October 18th, 2011
9:16 pm

Bill Curry doesn’t coach at GSU I don’t think. He coaches at Georgia St, right?

WaitASec

October 18th, 2011
9:20 pm

Saw that this was an article about GSU football and found out it was about Georgia State.

I think the only GSU football program should be in Statesboro. They’re winners down there.

[...] Jeff Schultz comments on the struggles of the Panthers second [...]

GSU is in Atlanta

October 18th, 2011
9:34 pm

@waitasec

What you think and what are reality are two different things. I would say check the website gsu.edu, but then again I am not sure this would be enough to convince you.

I am curious if GSU fans go on the Stateboro & Savannah newspaper websites and complain about Southern getting all the coverage?

GSU is in Atlanta

October 18th, 2011
9:36 pm

edit * is reality

Knucksie

October 18th, 2011
9:42 pm

On a more interesting topic: Methinks the prospective Hawks buyer must not have much cash, since the NBA is not approving the sale. Sale of the 76ers approved today. Took two seconds. Hawks sale announced in August. Still not approved.

Falcon 228

October 18th, 2011
10:12 pm

Erskine Russell he’s not. Bill Curry he is. GA Southern it’s not. GA State it is. It is what it is.

Paul in NH

October 18th, 2011
11:09 pm

Georgia State is going to play in the CAA? Did anyone tell them that it snows in Durham, NH in early November?

itsmeagain

October 18th, 2011
11:09 pm

I like how this thread is filled with georgia southern trolls who are butthurt because a second year program that has a 1-5 record is more popular than their storied team. If we’re this popular in our second year with this record i can only imagine how popular we will be in 10 when we are winning consistently.

Saban is overrated.

October 19th, 2011
1:28 am

Still remember him grabbing Prince Wimbley’s face mask in the 1990 Sugar. How degrading and stupid of the coach. Don’t think that crap will not come back to bit you when the player retaliates through his performance.

I didn’t throw the brick but I was attending Bama at the time and applauded the event. Too bad he not there to receive it upside the head.

Saban is overrated.

October 19th, 2011
1:35 am

I did like Curry on ESPN however. Very articulate. He should forget football. Never was a good coach the balance of his career (0-12 vs Auburn). And who in the hell would leave a 10-2 Bama team to go to KY which, oh by the way, finished 4-7 that year.

Hire Grantham!

October 19th, 2011
1:52 am

Gsu needs to dump the old geezer curry and hire a fire breather like Todd Grantham for head coach. He will kick some tails and get some results—he doesn’t put up with anything!

Itsmeagain

October 19th, 2011
2:26 am

@saban is overrated;
He left Alabama with a 10-2 record because they forced him out.