ATLANTA--Bill Curry, a name synonymous with class and integrity in the coaching profession, has accepted the challenge of building Georgia State University football as the program’s first head coach.
The Atlanta native and former head coach at Georgia Tech, Alabama and Kentucky was introduced by Georgia State President Carl Patton and Director of Athletics Mary McElroy in a Thursday afternoon press conference at the Georgia State Sports Arena, eight weeks after the football program was officially launched on April 17.
Curry, who agreed to a five-year contract, is charged with the task of developing and directing the football program in every area in preparation for Georgia State’s first season in the fall of 2010.
"Our mission is to educate young people on and off the field while building a first-class program that makes our University proud, and who better to instill those ideals into the fabric of Georgia State football than Bill Curry?" said McElroy.
"From the moment that we first spoke with Bill about Georgia State, you could see and feel how genuinely excited he was about this challenge. And make no mistake, it is quite a challenge to start a program from scratch, but we know we have the person who will do everything the right way while building a rock-solid foundation for Georgia State football."
Curry won three NFL
Green Bay (1965 & 1966)
and Baltimore (1970)
Curry won three NFL
In the NFL, he participated in three Super Bowls and two Pro Bowls as he played for two of the most highly-regarded coaches in professional sports history in Vince Lombardi and Don Shula, while his college coach, Georgia Tech’s Bobby Dodd, is an icon in Southern football annals.
After concluding his 10-year playing career as a center for the Green Bay Packers (1965-66), Baltimore Colts (1967-72), Houston Oilers (1973) and Los Angeles Rams (1974), Curry entered the coaching ranks as offensive line coach at Georgia Tech in 1976. He then spent three years as an NFL assistant with the Packers (1977-79) before returning to his alma mater as head coach in 1980.
Curry took over a Georgia Tech program in transition, moving from independent status to the Atlantic Coast Conference while badly in need of facilities upgrades. His first two seasons were highlighted by a stunning 3-3 tie against No. 1-ranked Notre Dame in 1980, in which the Yellow Jackets’ quarterback was a freshman walk-on named Ken Whisenhunt, who is now the head coach of the Arizona Cardinals, and a 24-21 victory at fourth-ranked Alabama the following year.
By recruiting talents such as all-America defensive end and future NFL star Pat Swilling, all-America offensive lineman John Davis, record-setting tailback Robert Lavette, and all-ACC linebacker Ted Roof, Curry’s teams also scored a pair of victories over nationally-ranked Georgia teams as well as a win over 13th-ranked Clemson that snapped a 20-game ACC winning streak.
Curry’s rebuilding efforts culminated in 1985, when he led Tech to a 9-2-1 season for the school’s highest win total in two decades and its first bowl victory in 13 years, defeating heavily-favored Michigan State in the All-American Bowl. For his efforts, he was named ACC Coach of the Year.
Curry compiled a record of 20-11-3 over his final three seasons at Georgia Tech before moving to Alabama in 1987. He posted a three-year record of 26-10 with the Crimson Tide, capped by the 1989 SEC title and Sugar Bowl berth. In addition to being selected SEC Coach of the Year in 1989, Curry received the national coaching accolade named for his beloved mentor, the Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Award. Curry then spent seven seasons at Kentucky (1990-96), highlighted by a berth in the 1993 Peach Bowl. At the time, that marked the Wildcats’ fourth bowl berth in 40 years. Through every stop, Curry has carried an indelible reputation for integrity and class, and he has been guided by the ideal that the education and well-being of the student-athlete is paramount. In 2007, he was recognized by the American Football Coaches Association with the Amos Alonzo Stagg Award, which honors someone "whose services have been outstanding in the advancement of the best interests of football."
Bill Curry and wife, Carolyn
Curry compiled a record of 20-11-3 over his final three seasons at Georgia Tech before moving to Alabama in 1987. He posted a three-year record of 26-10 with the Crimson Tide, capped by the 1989 SEC title and Sugar Bowl berth.
In addition to being selected SEC Coach of the Year in 1989, Curry received the national coaching accolade named for his beloved mentor, the Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Award.
Curry then spent seven seasons at Kentucky (1990-96), highlighted by a berth in the 1993 Peach Bowl. At the time, that marked the Wildcats’ fourth bowl berth in 40 years.
Through every stop, Curry has carried an indelible reputation for integrity and class, and he has been guided by the ideal that the education and well-being of the student-athlete is paramount. In 2007, he was recognized by the American Football Coaches Association with the Amos Alonzo Stagg Award, which honors someone "whose services have been outstanding in the advancement of the best interests of football."His passion for mentoring young people is evident in his most recent position as the Director of Leadership Baylor at the Baylor School in Chattanooga, Tenn.
"I met Bill Curry several years ago and found out for myself that he was everything people said he was: thoughtful, analytical and honest," said Patton. "You can imagine how thrilled I am that the search committee brought his name forward out of a terrific group of candidates. With a stellar background in both college and pro football, Bill is the perfect person to launch football at Georgia State. I’m reserving my 50-yard line tickets for the kickoff in the Dome."
Dr. Rankin Cooter, chairman of the Georgia State Athletic Association Board of Trustees, added, "Coach Curry has a national reputation for integrity and excellence both on and off the field. He provides instant credibility and sends a statement to the Atlanta community, the State of Georgia, and the Colonial Athletic Association that we are serious about athletics and football at Georgia State University. Athletic Director Mary McElroy and President Carl Patton are to be commended for their vision, effort, leadership, and commitment to a quality Georgia State athletics program for our student body and our student-athletes."
Curry attended College Park High School in the Atlanta area before going on to Georgia Tech, where he earned his B.S. degree in Industrial Management in 1965. He is married to the former Carolyn Newton of Atlanta, a graduate of Agnes Scott College who earned her master’s degree and Ph.D. from Georgia State. Bill and Carolyn have two children and four grandchildren.
Curry will officially begin his duties July 1, at which time he will hire a partial staff of up to four assistant coaches, a director of football operations and an administrative assistant. The staff will begin recruiting immediately in order to sign Georgia State’s first recruiting class in February 2009.
BILL CURRY FILE
Full Name: William Alexander Curry
Date of Birth: Oct. 21, 1942
Hometown: College Park, Ga.
Family: Married to the former Carolyn Newton
Children: Billy (married to Kelly) and Kristin (married to Bob Hunter)
Grandchildren: Alex (10), Elliot (9), Evelyn (5), Claire (3).
Education: Georgia Tech, 1965 (B.S. in Industrial Management)
College Park (Ga.) High School
Three-year letterwinner (1962-63-64) at Georgia Tech. Team captain in 1964.
Played 10 years as a center in the National Football League with the Green Bay Packers (1965-66), Baltimore Colts (1967-72), Houston Oilers (1973) and Los Angeles Rams (1974)
Played in three Super Bowls with Green Bay (Super Bowl I) and Baltimore (Super Bowl III & V) and won three championships (Green Bay, 1965 & 1966; Baltimore, 1970)
NFL Pro Bowl, 1971 & 1972
President of NFL Players Association
1976 Assistant Coach (Offensive Line), Georgia Tech
1977-79 Assistant Coach, Green Bay Packers
1980-86 Head Coach, Georgia Tech
1987-89 Head Coach, Alabama
1990-96 Head Coach, Kentucky
Atlantic Coast Conference Coach of the Year, 1985
Southeastern Conference Coach of the Year, 1989
Bobby Dodd National Coach of the Year, 1989
Amos Alonzo Stagg Award (AFCA), 2007
Member of Georgia Tech Athletic Hall of Fame, State of Georgia Sports Hall of Fame
Television analyst and contributing writer, ESPN
Director of Leadership Baylor, Baylor School, Chattanooga, Tenn., 2006-08
YEAR-BY-YEAR COACHING RECORD
83-105-4, 17 years
Georgia Tech (31-43-4, 7 years)
1985 9-2-1 ACC Runnerup, All American Bowl (W)
Alabama (26-10, 3 years)
1987 7-5 Hall of Fame Bowl
1988 9-3 Sun Bowl
1989 10-2 SEC Champions, Sugar Bowl
Kentucky (26-52, 7 years)
1993 6-6 Peach Bowl