It’s never easy for coaches to step away from the game they love, but longtime college football coach Bill Curry will retire at the end of 2012, his twentieth season as head coach.
He has an overall record of 92-118-4 over 19 seasons but his accomplishments outweigh his win-loss totals. From conference championships to Super Bowls, he’s pretty much done it all – including establish a brand new football program at Georgia State, where he’s in his third and final season as head coach.
The Panthers, currently in the Colonial Athletic Association, were 6-5 in their inaugural season but just 3-8 last year. Next season will be team’s first in the Football Bowl Subdivision, as a member of the Sunbelt Conference, but Curry won’t be on the sidelines.
”The opportunity to start a football program at a university that I love, in my hometown, and the privilege to coach these young men has been one of the highlights of my career,” Curry said. ”This has been a labor of love, but after this season, it will be the right time to step away from coaching.”
Building a team from the ground up is no small feat, and after several grueling years, Curry’s earned his rest and relaxation. Curry, who’ll be 70 when he retires, cited spending time with his five grandchildren as a large factor in his decision.
“I missed our children growing up, and I’m not going to do that again,” he said.
Curry missed his own children growing up because he was immersed in his successful football career, first as a player and then as a coach.
He played center at Georgia Tech and for ten seasons in the NFL, where he won Super Bowls with the Green Bay Packers and the Baltimore Colts and was a two-time Pro-Bowler.
He began his coaching career as an assistant at his alma mater and later spent seven years as the Yellow Jackets’ head coach. In 1985, his best season at Georgia Tech, the team finished 9-2-1 and Curry was named ACC Coach of the Year.
From 1987-1989, Curry coached at Alabama and led the Crimson Tide to an SEC Championship in 1989. He won the SEC Coach of the Year honors that year, as well as the Bobby Dodd National Coach of the Year award, named for Curry’s coach and mentor at Georgia Tech.
Before taking the Georgia State job in ’08, Curry’s last coaching gig was at Kentucky, from 1990-1996.
He worked as a college football analyst at ESPN for eleven years before relaunching his coaching career to start the Georgia State football program.
Curry is 9-13 in his first two years at GSU, and with his team determined to give him a proper send-off in his final season, he could end his stint with the Panthers with a winning record.
Then again, successfully launching a football program is, in itself, a pretty darn big win.