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John Currie Interview

The Drive with Josh Graham / Josh Graham
The Truth Network Radio
December 30, 2021 5:51 pm

John Currie Interview

The Drive with Josh Graham / Josh Graham

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December 30, 2021 5:51 pm

Wake Forest AD John Currie joins #TheDrive with Josh to discuss the upcoming bowl game, how the Deacons have been staying busy in Florida, and more. 

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Delivering on what I promised a minute ago, the 15 Pro Football Hall of Fame modern-day candidates announced in the last 15 minutes. Panther great Sam Mills among the 15. Quite shockingly, Steve Smith in his first year of eligibility was not included.

Wide receivers air quotes that were included. Devin Hester, but he's more in there as a special teams returner. But Reggie Wayne is among the 15 as is Tory Holt.

15 finalists are announced and they're gonna whittle that list down obviously to the five that go in the day before the Super Bowl. It's the day before Wake Forest plays its final game of this historic 21 season and we go out to Jacksonville site of the Gator Bowl where the AD of Wake Forest, John Curry joins the show. And I can't think of anybody better to be the final guest that we have on in 2021 than John Curry because it's felt like the year of Wake Forest here in the state of North Carolina and especially here in the Triad.

Let's start here John. I have to ask this because of what happened with NC State a few days back. Has the team already done, both teams done the final test that they need to do leading up to 11 a.m. tomorrow?

I don't think we're doing any final tests unless we have symptomatic student athletes and to my knowledge we don't have any. So Josh I'm coming to you live from Deaktown TIAA Bank Field. Literally if you're on social media you can see that right now we're having our night before Wake Forest fan event. We have about 1,500 Lake Forest fan events here at the stadium, fans here at the stadium. The school boards have WF Deaktown with the Strolling Deacon on them.

These two massive school boards here. It is just an awesome scene here. What has the team been doing since arriving in Jacksonville now that unlike last year teams are able to actually do fun things at a bowl location. It actually feels like a destination this year. Josh it really does and to be candid this kind of experience for the student athletes is what one dreams about a bowl experience being. You're on the beach in Florida at 75 degrees and sunny and this team has earned that. Over the last eight years under Coach Koss's leadership building our way back into the state of Florida into a bowl environment. The tax player Gator Bowl is a great organization. It goes back to 1946 when Wake Forest played the first Gator Bowl. Just a great world class student athlete experience for our student athletes and they've had a great time. They've also worked hard but when you're out on a natural grass, Bermuda grass field and it's 75 degrees practicing football it's a little bit more fun than if it was 30 degrees or 40 degrees or something else. So it's been a great environment for them.

Wake Forest Director of Athletics John Curry with us here on WSJS Sports ahead of the Gator Bowl tomorrow at 11 a.m. against Rutgers. Let's go back to that a week ago though. Give me a sense now that we're removed from it.

What was that 30 hour stretch like from your standpoint? How many different times did you think it was going to be someone else not named Rutgers? Yeah well it was it was truly dynamic you know for me Josh it really started on you know early Tuesday morning. I was driving up to Boone because my daughter is up at a ski camp and I was driving up there and I got a text from Pat Kraft as I was passing through Wilkesboro. And Pat of course is the AD at Boston College and he was texting about their basketball team and so we had to work on that for an hour or two.

And then I got a screenshot that Will Pantages sent me a little bit later of a rumor that Texas A&M might not be able to play. You know so I talked to the AD at Texas A&M pretty quickly after that and then it was a real collaborative effort with a lot of people certainly Greg McGarity and his staff here at the Gator Bowl. I certainly want to really commend Michael Strickland you know with the Salem native who's our Senior Associate Commissioner in the ACC and Commissioner Phillips and Coach Kloss and then our student athletes.

They were resilient in the face of a little uncertainty over that day and a half. They were adamant that they wanted to play and regardless of who we were going to play they wanted to play and it really feels good a week later to be sitting here on a beautiful evening with all these Demon Deacon fans from all over the country, a bunch of player parents. I was talking to Zach Tom's dad just a minute ago and our band of cheerleaders have been down on the Jacksonville Beach at the Gator Bowl pep rally. It really feels good for our entire university community and the Atlantic Coast Conference for us to be here. I said it feels like the year for Wake Forest because of the way the basketball team has performed.

The basketball teams I should say have performed. Shout out to Jen Hoover and company and also the Wake football team obviously going to Charlotte. How much do you feel the results we've seen in 2021 are based on some of the decisions that were made in 2020 both replacing a basketball coach that year and then seeing the results of it this year but also in 2020. Wake Forest took some lumps in football but a lot of the guys we saw out there and some of the rule changes we've seen have really benefited the Dukes.

How do you feel about it? Well the team culture that Coach Clawson has established over the last eight years continues to build on itself. When you have student athletes of the caliber academically, character-wise, socially, athletically that he's been able to attract and build in our program that success kind of begets success.

Other students who have the same kind of values and the same kind of competitive aspirations whether it's in football or academics or both really are more attracted to it. So it's that old Jim Collins flywheel effect that Coach Clawson talked about when he talked about the good to great theme this year for our program. So I think that certainly the good decisions that our coaches made during the pandemic, the behind the scenes work from our training room staff and our team doctors and academic staff throughout that period of time enabled us to sprint out of the pandemic and we talked about sprinting out of the pandemic. And then I would also recognize the Board of Trustees at Wake Forest University. We've had incredible presidential leadership at Wake Forest.

You know, my lineage with Wake Forest is Dr. Her and then Dr. Hatch and then now we, our board led us through a very successful leadership transition going from Dr. Hatch's incredible tenure to now the start of what I believe will be another transformational tenure with President Susan Wintie. So that kind of behind the scenes leadership from a lot of different people has resulted in a lot of great momentum for our university at a time when others candidly have been staggered because they didn't have the same kind of leadership in place. Speaking of leadership, and while we're reflecting on 2021, it wasn't Wake Forest president's chair, the only thing that shifted this year, Jim Phillips stepping in for John Swafford as the commissioner of the ACC.

Now that you've seen him work for, again, it's still a pretty small sample, but still some sample. What's impressed you the most if you had to pinpoint one thing rather than going through a list of things that you've seen from the commissioner? Well, I mean, you start with with the it factor, you know, Jim has the it factor and Jim gets it gets college athletics gets what's special about how intercollegiate athletics brings our communities together and about these incredible opportunities for student athletes and how this this enterprise and intertwined with higher education really has been wonderful for our country. And so he understands all those things, and then lives and breathes it, and he has done a magnificent job of building communication with with the different constituencies within the league when you think about the head coaches of the different sports or the presidents and the board, the athletic directors, senior women's administrators, faculty, athletic reps, you name it. Jim has just been tireless in his communication and with helping all those different constituencies feel and be part of kind of the forward trajectory and philosophy of the league.

It's Wake AD, John Curry with this year. Last thing for you as the calendar flips to 2022, we're looking at so much and we've talked about it before that's changed in college athletics this year. When you talk about NIL, the one time transfer, obviously some of the alignment that's come out of Texas and Oklahoma deciding they're going to join the SEC in a few years and some of the trickle down effect of that. Based on what we've seen this year, what do you anticipate is going to be something that is that that we've seen this year that's going to impact most how we move forward in college athletics, something we've seen over the last 12 months? Well, I believe that one of the things we've seen over the last 12 months is how much we missed being together and then the loss of opportunities for student athletes. Even some of the incidents in the last week where teams have lost the opportunity to participate in bowl games and you see the tears of student athletes who work their whole lives through these opportunities. I think we're reminded of how special this whole enterprise is. At the same time, we have challenges and we have to continue to work collaboratively to adapt as the enterprise adapts. But I know that with great leadership like we have from Dr. Wienke and Commissioner Phillips and great coaches that we have in place at Wake Forest, and we should mention that Jennifer Hoover and our women's basketball team is 10-2.

If you're in Winston-Salem, get over to Joel Coliseum tonight at 7 o'clock and watch the Deacs play. On that note, how comfortable are you that we're going to be looking at, when the calendar flips, a more normal college basketball season as the season goes on given the change in protocol this week? What is normal?

I saw a picture of my wife and I on a trip three years ago and we were on a subway car somewhere and we were all packed in with all these people and we didn't have masks on and it just seemed weird. So I think we're all adapting to kind of a new normal, but I'm really optimistic. Our program in particular, thanks to our partnership with the Wake Forest, Adrian Health, Wake Forest Baptist, we've got virtually all of our student athletes are boosted now, all vaccinated. We've been able to get pretty good protocols into place. I do believe I'm optimistic about the overall progression of dealing with it, although we still have to be vigilant. And we know that fans are going to be a little apprehensive in some ways coming to ballgames, but we're going to do everything we can to be safe and continuing to provide competition opportunities and keep moving forward.

Get back to the party, John. Happy New Year. Best of luck to the Deacs tomorrow. And thanks so much for making the time for us as always. Hey, Josh, we had a big game tomorrow. Really proud of this football team. Appreciate all the coverage you provide. I'm honored that I'm your last guest of this year. And, you know, come out and see these basketball teams play.

We got games today, got a game Sunday, two men's games next week, high level programs and great student athletes. And it's a great time to be a David Deacon in Winston-Salem. Thank you so much, John. It's good to hear from you. Happy New Year, Josh. There he goes. John Curry joining us, the Wake Forest director of athletics.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-02-12 06:10:55 / 2023-02-12 06:15:51 / 5

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