Kristy Curry (see Reporter: The Sports Authorities), a Louisiana native, was recently announced as the new head coach of Texas Tech’s Lady Raiders basketball team. Curry replaces legendary two-time Coach of the Year Marsha Sharp, who finished her 23-year tenure with a 557-175 record and brought Tech its only NCAA National Championship in any sport. Curry coached at the high school level in Louisiana before taking on the role as assistant coach for two years at Tulane (1991—1993), one season at Stephen F. Austin (1993—1994), two years at Texas A&M (1994—1996), and three years at Louisiana Tech (1996—1999). Curry then jumped to a head coach position at Purdue, becoming the first coach in history to inherit a NCAA national championship—winning team (she was successful in leading the Boilermakers to the NCAA Tournament all seven years as head coach). With three Big Ten Championships under her belt and her husband, Kelly, at her side as an assistant coach, Curry has the eyes of the Lady Raider Nation upon her.
texasmonthly.com: What’s it like for you to be coming back to Texas?
Kristy Curry: Oh, it’s incredible. You know, there is no place like home. We’re glad to be back in the southwest. I spent so much time in Texas recruiting. We had success at Purdue and Louisiana Tech, and I got to spend two years at Texas A&M. That’s how I met my husband, who’s an Aggie (he’s on my staff). I spent time at Stephen F. Austin, so it’s just awesome to be back home. Purdue was an incredible experience and gave me a chance to grow and step out of my comfort zone, but we are so happy to be back in Texas.
texasmonthly.com: What’s it like to have your husband, Kelly, helping you out as an assistant coach?
KC: This is such a tough profession—there are high highs and low lows. It really takes somebody special to be married to a coach. I guess it kind of goes both ways. We really complement one another yet understand and support each other.
texasmonthly.com: How will your time assisting at Texas A&M and Stephen F. Austin help you coach the Lady Raiders?
KC: It’s so much fun to get to see a lot of people. It’s funny how you’re gone seven years—things change, but things really never change. I see so many high school coaches that I’m familiar with (it was just so much fun to make that drive between Waco and Dallas last July). I felt like I was home again, even though I’m from North Louisiana. Our goal was to get back to Ark-La-Tex, at some point in our career. It’s just great to feel comfortable and to be in a community like Lubbock where faith and family is important. I look forward to raising my two little girls as Texans.
texasmonthly.com: How comfortable are you with the pressure of replacing Marsha Sharp?
KC: I’m very honored and very proud to follow Coach Sharp. Being a part of the younger generation, having watched her from afar, I feel like I have a responsibility to carry on the tradition. It’s like I tell Coach Sharp all the time: “Coach, I can’t fill your shoes, but I can sure dad-gum try to take care of them for you.” That’s our goal. When I went to Purdue, they had just won the national championship, and there was a tremendous amount of pressure. But I learned real quick, be yourself. One of my very favorite quotes is, “Love never fails, character never quits, and with patience and persistence, dreams do come true.” A lot of dreams came true at Purdue, but more importantly, the dream to get back home came true. I believe we can make some big dreams happen at Texas Tech. It’s the same thing that happened at Purdue—we just went in, and we tried to make sure that we did it right. We had some big dreams, and we got back to the Final Four two years later, won five Big Ten titles and seven NCAA tournaments. Nobody thought we could do that. No one can put near as much pressure on me as I do everyday waking up. I can tell you that.
texasmonthly.com: What do you think will be the test for the Lady Raiders this season?
KC: Oh, my goodness. You’ve got to think about Oklahoma and Baylor and Texas, and then Texas A&M. It’s a lot of fun for me being back in the Big 12 because I worked with [Baylor] Coach [Kim] Mulkey for three years at Louisiana Tech. [Texas A&M] Coach [Gary] Blair actually recruited one of my high school players out of Louisiana. Coach Blair helped me get my start. Between Coach Mulkey and Coach Blair, it’s good to be back in Texas in the Big 12.
texasmonthly.com: They made a lot of comments in your support when the announcement was made that you were taking over at Tech.
KC: They’re very dear to my heart. I’ve learned so much from both of them, and have so much respect for them. You don’t always enjoy playing against people that you love and respect so much. For forty minutes every once in a while we’ll have to compete, but when the clock goes off they’re just very special people to me.