A coach’s son from Sweetwater, Curry joined the U.S. Army for three years after high school. Soon after he got out, a Rams football player spied him shooting around in a gym and convinced him to meet with SAC’s legendary basketball coach, Phil George, who signed him after a local tryout.
“My dad and Coach George are the two best coaches I ever had,” Curry said.
The Rams were dominant in the early 1960s, and Curry played on one of five teams George took to the national finals. One of his fondest memories is flying to the finals in Kansas on a private plane piloted by George.
“It was a Beechcraft 35 Bonanza that is now in the Smithsonian Institute’s National Air and Space Museum,” Curry said. “Details about this plane are also in the West Texas Collection in the ASU Mayer Museum.”
While at SAC, Curry worked part time at a local Chevrolet dealership, then after college, he went full-time into the automobile industry, eventually owning and operating his own dealerships. He was also into wildlife management, at one time managing over 50,000 acres for various ranches. He credits a lot of his success to his time on campus.
“The professors were all concerned and compassionate about you,” Curry said, “and the education I received was definitely an asset in the automobile business. But I benefited the most from Coach George. Besides coaching, he showed a lot of concern for his players and really wanted us to be successful in life.”
Curry also stayed connected with the university, furnishing vehicles for team transport and recruiting trips, employing student-athletes at his dealerships, recruiting donors for the athletics program, and joining the Alumni Association Board of Directors. In 2019, his children established an endowment in his name for basketball scholarships.
“At 81 years old, it’s really special for something like this to happen.”
For his incredible career success and continued support of ASU, the Alumni Association has named Curry its 2021 Golden Ex of the Year.
“This is a monumental award,” Curry said. “At 81 years old, it’s really special for something like this to happen. I know nine of the previous winners, like my cousins Clovis and Bettie Olsak, so this is a real honor.”
Curry and his wife, Barbara, will celebrate their 47th anniversary in November. They have four kids, including two ASU alumni, and 11 grandchildren.