Michael Curry has led a team into the NBA playoffs, served as president of the National Basketball Players Association and spent 11 years playing in the league.
And now, Florida Atlantic has lured him back to college.
Curry was introduced in Boca Raton, Fla. on Monday night as the Owls’ new coach, replacing Mike Jarvis, whose six-year tenure at the school ended at the conclusion of this season. Curry most recently was an associate coach with the Philadelphia 76ers, plus was the Detroit Pistons’ head coach and guided them to the playoffs in 2008-09.
FAU went 10-20 this season, and Curry – who has already broken down the Owls’ play from this season – knows a rebuilding project awaits.
”We want to be a Top 25 team in the country,” Curry said. ”We have to recruit some very good basketball players. But more importantly, we want to recruit good young men. Total package.”
Players were told of the hire earlier Monday, a few hours before the school made it official. FAU athletic director Patrick Chun lauded Curry’s character and said he’s convinced that the new coach ”literally has a Ph.D in basketball.”
”We have recruited and attracted a uniquely qualified person,” Chun said.
Curry played for seven NBA teams, was president of the NBPA for four years and was part of Doug Collins’ staff with the 76ers through the end of last season. Curry also played for Collins in Detroit and also was part of NBA teams in Indiana, Toronto, Milwaukee, Washington, Philadelphia and Sacramento.
He was a candidate to become the 76ers’ head coach after last season before Philadelphia hired Brett Brown, who ultimately decided not to keep any of the incumbent assistants. Curry spent the last several months keeping his options open, and FAU lured him back to work.
”We begin today to work toward the future,” Curry said.
Collins lauded the hire, saying FAU simply made a brilliant move.
”I don’t think that Florida Atlantic University realizes what an incredible coach and man that they are getting,” Collins said. ”Michael Curry is one of the finest individuals that I have ever been around. He is a tremendous coach. FAU is going to be so well represented in every way with class and dignity. His teams will compete. They will defend and will play unselfishly. Michael is like a son to me. I love him and I’m so proud of him.”