Curry faces big job at Georgia State

Published 1:46 am Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Each of my readers knows that I am a bit partial to football. I have always felt in my element when football season rolls around.

I know that new head coach Bill Curry at Georgia State probably wishes the 2010 season was even more that a year away. His charges will not begin play until the fall of 2010, and then must face Alabama at Tuscaloosa.

Curry spent several years coaching at Alabama, and his only failing was an inability to beat Auburn.

Email newsletter signup

I officiated in his final game, which was at Texas A & M. That game had been postponed until the end of the season, because Alabama would not risk travel during a September hurricane.

Ironically, that game at Texas A&M was coach Jacky Sherrill’s final game at A & M., and he soon took over as head coach at Mississippi State. Curry was let go at Alabama at the end of the season, and though his Tide team finished 10-1, that one loss was to Auburn and that sealed his doom.

Bill Curry is probably too good a man to be a head football coach at the major college level. Though he was certainly a hard-nosed football player at Georgia Tech and for the Baltimore Colts in the NFL he might not have been hard nosed enough to be a head coach at the major college level. I certainly wish him the best.

Starting a from-scratch football program at any level is tough, and starting one in the Bowl Subdivision (Division I) is double so.

The good football players have already committed to other schools, and the only players left are maybe those who have decided to stay home and go to a local school rather that walk on somewhere else. I hope Bill finds enough players to be competitive.

Speaking, as I earlier did, about Alabama, it appears the Tide is in a heap of trouble with the NCAA. Apparently, most of the transgressions predated Coach Nick Saban. Alabama will, it seems, appeal the NCAA’s ruling, but history leads me to believe the best Alabama can hope for is maybe a slight reduction in the penalty.

I do not normally watch much baseball, but this year the College World Series has caught my attention. Maybe it was because Southern Mississippi had a Cinderella ending to their season and made it to Omaha or because Ole Miss came so close to going.

Southern Miss came so close to beating Texas. The thing most know about baseball is that, at any level, good pitching is necessary. Southern Miss’ pitching failed against Texas.

I think Coach Corky Palmer did a wonderful job simply getting the Golden Eagles to Omaha. No number of trips to the mound or pitching changes can make a kid throw strikes.

The other thing I have gained from this tournament, is that LSU can’t feel safe against Texas, regardless of the lead they might build.

Notice was sent the other day of the death of another retired Southeastern Conference football official. Morris Harrison, a former referee from Atlanta, died. Morris, several years older than I, played at Georgia Tech after World War II, in which he served.

The year I was admitted to SEC officiating ranks, as a referee, Morris had dropped out of officiating. He returned the following year and his experience allowed him to rapidly move back up in the rankings to his previous level.

Of course, as a referee also, I did not officiate on the field with Morris, but did have some clock assignments to games which he refereed.

Al Graning writes a monthly column for The Democrat. Contact him at