Record belies Curry’s contributions

sports@macon.comOctober 21, 2013 

PigSkin

From left, Georgia State coach Bill Curry, Georgia coach Mark Richt and Georgia Tech football coach Paul Johnson answer questions from the media during the 2011 Peach State Pigskin Preview at the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame.

JASON VORHEES — Jason Vorhees

If you look at Bill Curry’s college coaching record, you won’t be impressed.

In 20 years on the sidelines at four different schools, he compiled an overall record of 93-128-4, with a winning mark only at Alabama.

In three seasons with the Crimson Tide, he went 26-10 overall and 14-6 in SEC play. But that was not good enough for the Alabama faithful, mainly because he never defeated Auburn.

The Alabama stopover was sandwiched in between coaching stints at his alma mater, Georgia Tech, where he was 31-43-4 in seven seasons, and traditional SEC cellar dweller Kentucky, where he was 26-52 in seven seasons in Lexington.

After leaving Kentucky, he was out of coaching for 12 years before taking on the startup program at Georgia State, where he had a 10-23 record in three seasons with the Panthers.

To say Curry has not had a successful career, however, would be grossly inaccurate.

During his collegiate coaching career, Curry was the ACC coach of the year at Georgia Tech in 1985, and he was twice named the SEC coach of the year while at Alabama, in 1987 and 1989.

During his professional playing days, Curry served as president of the NFL Players Association and was the starting center for the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl I, a 35-10 win over Kansas City, and earned another championship ring in Super Bowl V with the Baltimore Colts.

FPD athletics director and football head coach Greg Moore had the opportunity to observe Curry up close and personal during his Alabama stint. Moore served as a student manager for all three years Curry was in Tuscaloosa, and he was on a full scholarship during his final year at the Capstone when he was named head student manager.

Moore is one of Curry’s biggest fans.

“He taught me everything that I know about professionalism,” Moore said. “He opened the door to me football-wise that was not afforded to other people. He really has a knack for knowing just the right thing to say at just the right time.”

Moore said Curry told him he would do well in coaching, and Curry left him with something he has carried with him since leaving Alabama: “Your players will never care how much you know until they know how much you care.”

More than two decades have passed since Curry and Moore were at Alabama together, but they still have a strong bond. Curry was in Macon on Aug. 30 to speak at the dedication of Austin Childers Field at FPD’s George S. Johnson Stadium.

Curry developed a friendship with the Childers family through a chance meeting on an airline flight several years ago, and already knowing Moore just helped to solidify the relationship. Childers, a 2009 FPD graduate, is battling a rare mitochondrial disease.

Curry also was in Macon back in June to speak at an event at the Georgia Industrial Children’s Home.

In addition to his football accomplishments, Curry has enjoyed success as a public speaker, author and broadcaster. He has several books to his credit, including one I discovered recently that he wrote some five years ago entitled “Ten Men You Meet in the Huddle: Lessons from a Football Life.” He has chapters on coaches who influenced his life, including his high school mentor Bill Badgett, his college coach Bobby Dodd and two of his professional coaches, Vince Lombardi and Don Shula.

In addition, there are chapters on NFL Hall-of-Famers Willie Davis, Ray Nitschke, Bart Starr, Bubba Smith and Johnny Unitas, as well as a chapter on author George Plimpton.

Curry gives readers great insight on the personalities of all 10, especially Lombardi, Starr and Unitas, who all are among my top sports heroes. His disdain for Lombardi and Nitschke is expressed quite vividly in the book.

It is one of the best sports books that I have read, and I highly recommend it.

Contact Bobby Pope, who hosts the Saturday Scoreboard on Fox Sports 1670, at bobbypope428@gmail.com.

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