Now in her seventh year at the helm of the Boilermakers, Purdue head coach Kristy Curry has made her mark as one of the most successful women's basketball mentors in school history.
Curry has carved her own niche within the tradition-rich Purdue program. After her hiring on April 2, 1999, Curry became the first coach in NCAA history to inherit a national championship-winning team. Undaunted, she guided her first squad to four straight wins in the 1999-2000 season, extending Purdue's school-record win streak to 34 consecutive games, a mark that ranks sixth all-time in NCAA history.
Curry's coaching career began modestly in her home state of Louisiana. Raised Kristy Lynn Sims in Olla, located in the northwest portion of the Pelican State, Curry started on the prep level at Weston (1988-90) and Mansfield (1990-91) high schools.
Curry quickly moved on to the collegiate ranks, first taking an assistant coaching position at Tulane for the 1991-92 and 1992-93 seasons. Curry spent the 1993-94 season on the sidelines at Stephen F. Austin before moving on to Texas A&M for the 1994-95 and 1995-96 campaigns.
Curry's next position brought her back closer to home as an assistant coach for Louisiana Tech. Under the tutelage of Hall of Fame coaching legend Leon Barmore, Curry helped guide the Lady Techsters for three years. 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 NCAA runners-up. In Curry's last season in Ruston, Louisiana Tech went 30-3 and advanced to the NCAA Women's Final Four before being ousted by Purdue in the semifinals.
Seven days after the Lady Techsters lost to the Boilermakers in San Jose, Calif., Curry was introduced as Purdue head coach.
Upon her arrival in West Lafayette, Curry wasted little time winning over the Boilermaker faithful. In her inaugural season, Curry guided Purdue to a 23-8 overall record and a Big Ten Tournament championship. Curry and her staff pounded the pavement throughout that season to sign what would be recognized as the best recruiting class in the nation, highlighted by a pair of Texas high school All-Americans in Erika Valek and Shereka Wright.
Curry's second season was even more successful than her first, as the 2000-01 Boilermakers posted a 31-7 overall record, won the Big Ten regular-season title outright and advanced to the NCAA Women's Final Four in St. Louis, Mo. After a semifinal victory against No. 15 Southwest Missouri State, Purdue fell 68-66 to No. 2 Notre Dame in the title game. Despite the loss, 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; Purdue's Carolyn Peck is the other.
Purdue pressed on in 2001-02, winning its second straight Big Ten regular-season title while posting a 24-6 overall record.
In 2002-03 Curry and the Boilermakers continued their success by winning another Big Ten Tournament crown and advancing to the NCAA Elite Eight to face No. 1 Connecticut before finishing with a 29-6 record.
On Feb. 27, 2003, Curry won her 100th game as Purdue head coach, with a 74-48 victory against Indiana. Curry needed only 126 games to reach the milestone, and got 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.
The 2003-04 season was more of the same for Curry, who guided the Boilermakers to a 29-4 record, another Big Ten Tournament championship and a trip to the NCAA Sweet 16. Never before in the storied 28-year history of the program had teams won 25 or more games in back-to-back seasons.
During her six-year tenure in West Lafayette, Curry has won two Big Ten regular-season and three Big Ten Tournament championships. She has won an average of 25.5 games every year, won better than 75 percent of the games she has coached, and guided Purdue to the NCAA Tournament every year.
More than words, the numbers tell the story of Curry's success. After her first six seasons, Curry's overall record stands at 153-44 (.777), while her Big Ten ledger rests at 73-23 (.760). She owns a record of 77-9 (.895) in Mackey Arena, and boasts a Big Ten home record of 43-5 (.896).
Curry and the Boilermakers have excelled in the postseason, winning three Big Ten Tournament titles and competing in a Final Four. Curry's conference tournament record is 12-3 (.800), while her NCAA Tournament record is 13-6 (.684).
A great deal of Purdue's and Curry's aforementioned success can be attributed to outstanding talent. Under Curry's watch, Katie Douglas became only the third player in Big Ten history and the first Purdue player to earn two Kodak All-America honors (in 2000 and 2001). Douglas was the 2000 and 2001 Big Ten Player of the Year, and also was named the 2001 Big Ten Female Athlete of the Year. A two-time first team All-Big Ten pick, Douglas is one five Purdue players under Curry to earn first team all-conference laurels.
Wright, the 2000 USA Today and Gatorade high school player of the year out of Copperas Cove, Texas, 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.
Valek, a four-year starting point guard for the Boilermakers, capped off her career by winning the Frances Pomeroy Naismith Award as the nation's top player under 5-foot-8.
IN THE CLASSROOM
Kristy Curry's Boilermakers have been successes in the classroom as well. Twelve different Boilermakers have received Academic All-Big Ten distinction over the last five years, with Douglas and Camille Cooper earning first team Academic All-America honors in 2001. Douglas and Cooper are just two of the 19 players who have earned their degrees since 2000. Every Boilermaker who has finished her playing career at Purdue during Curry's tenure has graduated, including 2005 graduates Hannah Anderson and Emily Heikes.
IN THE COMMUNITY
Curry is active in the Greater Lafayette community, especially with Tippecanoe County Family Services, a United Way Agency, for which she serves as spokeswoman. In association with Family Services, Curry records public service announcements and makes personal appearances for fundraising events. A sought-after public speaker, Curry also has given her time to Girl Scouts and Habitat for Humanity.
IN THE HOME
Curry and her husband, Kelly, live in West Lafayette with their daughters, Kelsey and Kendall, and their dog, Maggie.
Full name is Kristy Lynn (Sims) Curry ... married to Kelly, and has two daughters, Kelsey (5) and Kendall (2) ... earned B.S. in health and physical education at Northeast Louisiana in 1988 ... received M.S. in kinesiology at Stephen F. Austin in 1994 ... graduated from LaSalle High School in Olla, La.