It’s not everyday that one to gets to meet an NFL player. It’s even more rare to get to meet an NFL player who played in two Super Bowls. And it’s really, really rare to meet a player who not only played in two Super Bowls, but played in the first and fifth Super Bowls. Bill Curry is just such a player.
Curry spoke at the 2019 Osborne High School Football Banquet (December 11) at the invitation of OHS team chaplain, Mark Hellman. Curry and Hellman knew each other from their ties to Action Ministries, a regional non-profit that helps to combat the effects of poverty for families across Georgia. Curry’s theme revolved around the value of teammates and team sports.
Head Coach Russ Isham got the evening started and welcomed all the parents, players, and guests. Scott Pope, from Fellowship of Christian Athletes, offered the invocation before the meal, which was provided by the generosity of Image Church in Marietta. After the meal, Chuck Stines introduced Coach Curry. Stines has many connections to Osborne, but the most important one was giving Coach Isham his first job in coaching, as an offensive coordinator at Pebblebrook High School in the 1990s.
All eyes were trained on the podium as Coach Curry took the mic. Curry was born and raised in College Park, Georgia and graduated from and played for Georgia Tech. He was drafted by the Green Bay Packers in 1965 and won Super Bowl I with them in 1967. His second Super Bowl win came with the Baltimore Colts in 1971. It’s hard to believe, but Curry played played center and hiked the ball to such NFL notables as Vince Lombardi, Bart Starr, Johnny Unitas, Joe Namath, and Roger Staubach. Upon retiring from playing, Curry took up announcing for ESPN and coaching. Most recently, he was the first head coach of the Georgia State University Panthers, whose football program began in 2010.
Curry spoke for about 15 minutes, relaying stories and observations from his 77 years of life. “Team sports,” he said, “are one of the greatest things we are given in this life.” Claiming to know which team will win the championship in any sport, he said, “The championship-winning team will always be the one with a great leader surrounded by others who refuse to let each other down.” Comparing what he learned on the field to the political and social divide in the country, he said, “Friday night is when we huddle. It’s the only time in this country when we all sit together, regardless of skin color or political views.” In closing, he gave the team a quick Latin lesson: “Magnanimitas,” he said, “it means, ‘greatness of spirit.’ You’ll never become the person God made you to be without magnanimitas.” Curry handed the mic back and gracefully thanked the crowd of 130 as they gave him a standing ovation.
Coach Isham took over from there, recognizing the OHS coaching staff and the players, starting with the freshman and ending with the seniors. Special awards were given for individual accomplishments (see list below), and the team surprised Coach Isham with a signed ball. He closed the evening with an emotional promise to the team and parents to give his very best. “I want to see this team on the level of Harrison and Allatoona,” Coach Isham said, “and I am committed to doing what I can to make that happen at Osborne.”
Individual Player Recognitions
–Outstanding Defensive Back: Tiphaurus Williams
–Outstanding Defensive Line: Joe Soto
–Outstanding Defensive Linebacker: Exavius Williams
–Outstanding Offensive Line: Jalen Bowling
–Outstanding Offensive Back: Ben Agoruah
–Outstanding Offensive Receiver: Deontae Morgan
–Outstanding Specialty Team: Eric Hartbarger
–Cardinal Award (Overall Outstanding Player): Cole Lane