The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Sports

November 8, 2012

A football life comes to an end for Bill Curry

(Continued)

He doesn't have that option anymore.

"I've had more than one of these experiences where we didn't get the job done," said Curry, whose coaching career was marred by more losses than wins (93-127-4). "What that does, as a rule, is drives you to do the next job better. All you get when you don't win is that steely determination to do better. I'll have to do better at something else. I don't know what that is yet."

Curry's players know how much this game means to him. They desperately want to put one more victory on his record.

"He's put in so much work, so much time, sacrificed so much, been so committed to all of us," center Michael Davis said. "We all look up to him. He's a great role model for all of us. He's got a special place in all our hearts. It definitely means a lot to us to send him out with a win."

This is Curry's 58th year in football, and it's ending not far from where it started. He grew up in suburban College Park, just down the road from the Panthers' practice facility. His last practice was in shadows of downtown Atlanta, right beside the elevated tracks where MARTA trains carry commuters into and out of the city.

He played at nearby Georgia Tech, and would later return to coach there. His gridiron career took him to a victory in the first Super Bowl, where he started at center for Bart Starr and the Green Bay Packers. He moved on to Baltimore Colts, hiking the ball to Johnny Unitas, adding two more Super Bowls and another title to his resume.

His coaching career will mostly be remembered for a stint at Alabama in the 1980s, the break of a lifetime but one that ended with a rather ugly departure. While Curry guided the Crimson Tide to a share of a Southeastern Conference championship, he never beat its biggest rival, Auburn, and was never truly accepted by the fans in Tuscaloosa, who viewed him as an outsider, unworthy of filling the job once held by Bear Bryant.

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