ATLANTA -- Georgia State student-athletes spend countless hours in a variety of service endeavors, giving back to their community.

 

Ed Curney is taking that ideal a step further.

 

The Georgia State linebacker and team captain completed his undergraduate degree in interdisciplinary studies last spring and has begun work on a master’s degree in education.

               

“I hope to one day be an athletic director in the APS (Atlanta Public Schools),” Curney explained. “I want to give back to the community.

               

“I’m from Atlanta, and I grew up with the same struggles as those kids have. I’ve seen a lot of my home boys throw their lives away over dumb decisions, the streets getting to them.

               

“I feel like if could make it out of there, I can teach other kids and help them make it. It seems impossible, but if I can do it, you can do it.”

               

Curney says he has been blessed with a strong family.

               

“Most importantly my father. He is everything to me,” he said. “My dad grew up on the streets, so he knew what he didn’t want for me. He was very strict and hard on me, and my mom is loving and nurturing, so it was the perfect balance for me to keep me out of the bad situations that are involved with growing up in the city.

               

“I had a lot of coaches and teachers that I loved, but having a father figure like my dad was the most important thing.”

               

Curney, who attended Atlanta's Carver High School, hopes to become an athletic director because of the dual role he can play for young people.

               

“I thought I wanted to coach, but I also want to impact kids’ lives because I love kids. Being an athletic director gives me the best of both worlds,” he said. “I’ll be able to impact kids in the classroom and also athletically.”

               

The time-management challenges inherent in a student-athlete’s life become even more intense for a graduate student.

               

“Grad school is much more difficult than undergrad, plus I want to give my all to football, so there have been some very long nights, with not a lot of sleep,” Curney said. “It’s hard but I can do it.”

               

Part of giving his all to football this season is embracing the leadership responsibility that comes with being a captain.

               

“We’ve just got to keep believing, keep fighting, keep working,” Curney said. 

               

The Panthers' leading tackler this season, Curney learned about fighting through adversity after shoulder injuries that have caused him to miss two full seasons.

               

“I injured my shoulder twice, the same arm. I thought about quitting, but again, my parents helped fight through it. That’s what I tell these guys out here, that we’ve just got to keep fighting through it.”