Yarmouth boys' lax coach steps down; Craig Curry won four state titles in seven years
Craig Curry, who inherited a Yarmouth boys' lacrosse program on the cusp of greatness and led it to six regional and four state championships in seven seasons, has stepped down.
Curry led the Clippers to the pinnacle in 2004, 2006, 2008 and 2009 and in his three other seasons was denied by a single goal in the final game. He won 97 of 107 games in his tenure.
Curry cited family and work obligations for his decision.
"I'm torn," he said. "I'm going to miss it. It's a point in time where I want to watch my son play (John Curry is a sophomore at Goucher College in Baltimore). I also have opportunities at work that I've had to pass up before that I'd like to pursue."
Curry is an anesthesiologist with the Spectrum Medical Group, working out of Maine Medical Center, among other locations.
Curry, a native of upstate New York, played lacrosse at Siena College, attended medical school at Syracuse University and did his residency at Johns Hopkins University in Maryland. He coached three years of middle school lacrosse, assisted Barry White, the godfather of Yarmouth lacrosse, for two seasons, then took over the varsity program in 2004.
The Clippers had come within an overtime goal of a first championship in 2003 and were a juggernaut Curry's first season, winning every game, most by decisive margins, before finally getting past Cape Elizabeth, 11-6, in the state final.
Yarmouth returned to states in 2005, but was upset in the final by the Capers, 7-6. In 2006, the Clippers downed Kennebunk, 8-5, to win the championship. The next year, they fell, 10-9, at North Yarmouth Academy in the Eastern B Final. Yarmouth continued its trend of even-year titles in 2008, beating Cape Elizabeth, 9-4, in the final, then held off the Capers again in the 2009 state game, 12-9.
Curry decided before the 2010 season that it would be his last.
"I spoke to (athletic director) Susan (Robbins) to give her an opportunity to plan," Curry said. "I didn't want to detract from the kids this year."
Little detracted from another stellar season for the Clippers, who despite many graduation losses (a common theme in recent years), won 11 of 12 regular season games and easily dispatched NYA and St. Dom's to reach another state final.
There, in a contest eerily reminiscent of 2005, Yarmouth lost, 7-6, to Cape Elizabeth.
"I enjoyed this year's team as much as any, if not more," said Curry. "It was a very smooth year for me. The way we improved and progressed as a team. You can't count on winning every single year, but the kids want to reach the potential they saw their teammates reach. I had no disappointment whatsoever in us reaching our potential. I think we did. If a couple breaks went our way, we could have won."
Last week, Curry told his players that he was finished.
He has nothing but fond memories of his time with the Clippers.
"I loved doing this," Curry said. "The kids are great kids. The kids coming back next year are wonderful kids. It's a great way to be a part of a community and be with young people. You see mostly positive sides of everything. That's what I've enjoyed about it. The table was set when I took over. There were a lot of people who have had a hand in our success."
Robbins couldn't say enough positive things about Curry.
"Craig is the consummate coach," she said. "He's a student of the game, a great communicator and has a great relationship and trust with the boys. He's an exemplary coach. The kind I wish I had 10 of. He's very special."
Curry's colleagues had plenty of praise as well.
"Craig and I had some great games over the years," said Cape Elizabeth coach Ben Raymond. "His teams were always very well-prepared, well-coached, disciplined and organized. When he took over the program, they were almost always number two to our number one. During his tenure, he took the team to the next level and turned them into the number one team in the state year-in and year-out. It is extremely difficult to stay on top and to do it with so many different classes of players is amazing.
"Most importantly, Craig was always a class act. Win or lose, he did it with style and grace. His dedication to the lacrosse program in Yarmouth has been apparent for all to see and Craig leaves that program in much better shape then when he took over. Craig has been a great sportsman, colleague and friend. No matter how things were going for either team he could always be counted on for a kind word of encouragement."
"(Craig) is one of the best," said Falmouth coach Mike LeBel. "He was the coach that I most admired. His teams forced other programs to improve. Lacrosse in Maine is healthier due to his contributions."
Perhaps Curry's most dazzling stat is that he never lost a home game. Yarmouth will take a 73-game home win streak, dating back to May, 2002, into next season.
"It was fun to be a part of that," said Curry. "It was nice to never have to walk off the field and deal with losing consequences."
Robbins said that the search for a new coach will begin soon.
"We have a wonderful staff of qualified coaches," she said. "Craig will be very difficult to replace, but we have a good pool. The plan is (to open the position for applications) and interview in August and September."
Curry, who lives in Yarmouth with his wife and college sweetheart, Mary, is also the father of two girls, Katie, and recent Yarmouth High graduate, Molly. He indicated that a return to coaching at a later date could be possible.
"A lot depends on work," he said. "I'm not going to rule it out. To step into an assistant role like (longtime girls' team assistant) Warden Dilworth and to give back would be ideal for me. I enjoyed being an assistant when I was one."
"I'd take him back in a second," said Robbins.
Curry expects to remain part of the Yarmouth sports community and plans to attend many games in the years to come.
"I bleed blue," he said. "I'll be an unqualified Clippers supporter."
Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org