The excitement kicked off with our gymnastics team beating Florida on Friday night in a down-to-the-wire contest that ultimately required our two seniors, Diandra Milliner and Kim Jacob, each scoring 9.85 in the final event of the evening to bring home the victory.
Hardworking, energetic, aggressive and disciplined are all words that can be used to describe Alabama head women's basketball coach Kristy Curry, who enters her first season with the Crimson Tide after having spent the last seven seasons at the helm of the Texas Tech Lady Raider basketball program.
With a record of 130-98 throughout her career at Tech and a career record of 309-149 in 14 years, Curry guided the Lady Raiders to a 21-11 record in 2012-13 and an appearance in the NCAA Tournament for the second time in three years.
While in Lubbock, Curry coached several all-conference, all-academic and all-America players over the last 14 seasons. Senior guards Monique Smalls, Casey Morris and Chynna Brown picked up All-Big 12 Conference Team honors last season with Brown as the lone representative on the All-Big 12 First Team. Tech was the only Big 12 team to have all three starting backcourt members named to the all-conference team.
In addition to her time on the court, Curry has spent time off the court contributing on several national and regional committees over the last year. She is currently serving on the NCAA Women's Basketball Issues Committee and is a member of the Women's Basketball Coaches Association, where she serves on the Defensive Player of the Year Award committee.
After establishing herself as one of the most successful women's basketball coaches in school history at Purdue University, Curry took over the reigns of the tradition-rich program at Texas Tech on March 30, 2006.
On Nov. 23, 2007, Curry added another milestone to her resume as she captured her 200th career win in a 78-56 victory over Kennesaw State in the Basketball Travelers Classic in Lubbock. The 2007-08 season also saw the Lady Raiders return to postseason play as they competed in the Postseason WNIT.
In her first stint as a head coach, Curry was hired as the head coach at Purdue in April of 1999, becoming the first coach in NCAA history to inherit a national championship-winning team. She led her first squad to four-straight wins in the 1999-00 season, extending Purdue's school-record win streak to 34 consecutive games, a mark that ranks sixth all-time in NCAA history.
In her seven years at the helm of the Boilermakers, she compiled a career record of 179-51 (.778) and was 86-26 (.768) in Big Ten Conference games. Curry's teams won two Big Ten regular-season (2001, 2002) and three Big Ten Tournament (2000, 2003, 2004) championships. She also guided her teams to seven NCAA Tournament appearances, including the Final Four and championship game in 2001. Curry became just the second coach in NCAA history to guide her team to the NCAA championship contest in her second year as a head coach.
On Feb. 27, 2003, Curry won her 100th game as a head coach with a 74-48 victory against Indiana. Curry needed only 126 games to reach the milestone, getting there faster than any coach in Purdue history. In addition, Curry recorded her 100th victory quicker than coaching icons such as Pat Summitt of Tennessee, Geno Auriemma of Connecticut, Tara VanDerveer of Stanford and Jody Conradt of Texas.
Not only did Curry have successful teams, but she also had coached some very successful student-athletes in West Lafayette. Under Curry's leadership at Purdue, Katie Douglas became only the third player in Big Ten history, and the first Purdue player, to earn two Kodak All-America honors (2000, 2001). Douglas was the 2000 and 2001 Big Ten Player of the Year and was named the 2001 Big Ten Female Athlete of the Year. A two-time All-Big Ten pick, Douglas is one of six Purdue players under Curry to earn first team all-conference honors. Shereka Wright, who was an assistant on Curry's staff at Texas Tech, was the 2000 USA Today and Gatorade High School Player of the Year out of Copperas Cove, Texas, and finished her four-year career under Curry as Purdue's second all-time leading scorer. Following her senior season, in which she led the Big Ten in scoring in conference games, Wright earned first team honors on the inaugural Wooden Women's All-America Team. Lubbock native Erika Valek, a four-year starting point guard for the Boilermakers, capped her career by winning the Frances Pomeroy Naismith Award as the nation's top player under 5-foot-8.
The on-court success of her teams has carried over into the classroom as well, both at Texas Tech and Purdue. In her seven years at Texas Tech, 13 times her student-athletes received Academic All-Big 12 honors and had been named Academic All-District five times. Twenty-four times her student-athletes received Academic All-Big Ten distinction during her time at Purdue. Every Boilermaker who finished her playing career at Purdue during Curry's tenure graduated.
Curry began her coaching profession in her home state of Louisiana as she started at the prep level at Weston (1988-90) and Mansfield (1990-91) high schools. From there, Curry quickly moved to the college ranks as an assistant at Tulane for two seasons (1991-93). Curry then spent a year at Stephen F. Austin (1993-94) before moving on to Texas A&M for the next two years (1994-96). She then returned to the state of Louisiana to be an assistant coach at Louisiana Tech for Hall of Famer Leon Barmore for three seasons (1996-99). In 1996-97, Louisiana Tech went 31-4 and advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16. In 1997-98, the Lady Techsters posted another 31-4 record and finished as the NCAA runner-up. In Curry's last season in Ruston, Louisiana Tech went 30-3 and advanced to the NCAA Final Four.
Off the court, Curry feels strongly about giving back to the community. She has been heavily involved with several organizations including, the American Cancer Society Coaches vs. Cancer, Joe Arrington Cancer Center, Junior League, Inc., of Lubbock, Salvation Army, South Plains Food Bank, Women's Protective Services, Komen for the Cure, Ronald McDonald House, UMC Children's Center, AMBUC's of Lubbock, Shoes for Orphan Souls, Toys for Tots, United Way, Girl Scouts and Habitat for Humanity. A highly sought after guest speaker, Curry was a keynote speaker for the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal's "A Time for Women" and is a spokeswoman for the Muscular Dystrophy Association's "Aisles of Smiles". Curry has also made personal appearances for fundraising events and has recorded public service announcements.
A native of Olla, La., Curry graduated from LaSalle High School and then went on to earn her bachelor of science degree in health and physical education at Northeast Louisiana in 1988, and her master's in education at Stephen F. Austin in 1994.
She and her husband, Kelly, have two daughters, Kelsey and Kendall.
COACHING HIGHLIGHTS Nine NCAA Tournament appearances One NCAA Final Four Two NCAA Elite Eights Four NCAA Sweet 16s Three Women's National Invitation Tournament appearances Two Big Ten regular season titles Nine 20-win seasons