Bill Curry’s first impressions of Todd Stansbury aren’t remotely close to what he knows of Stansbury today.
Curry was the coach at Georgia Tech when Stansbury arrived as part of the recruiting class in 1980.
Stansbury was muscular (he’s trim now). He had long hair (which he no longer does). He talked funny (you can still hear traces of his Canadian accent). He was also very smart and very fast.
“I was happy to meet him,” Curry said.
Stansbury on Thursday was named the athletic director at Tech, calling it his dream job.
Curry shared his thoughts on Stansbury. His answered have been paraphrased:
Q: Stansbury talked a lot about the Total Person Program on Thursday, and specifically about how you showed the players that the Tech way wasn’t the way everybody does things. What does that mean to you?
A: It meant this: Homer Rice sat me down. I was 36 years old. I was clueless in every way.
He said we are going to do a Total Person Program. I’ve written a book. l have a work book. It has all the various aspects in it.
You are going to learn it and teach it to the team. I said “OK,” and then I started building a staff and recruiting and scheduling and putting together practice schedules and all the various things.
He calls me back in. “How are you doing teaching the program?”
“I’ll get around to that. We have all these other things to do.”
“No. Thursday at 11 there are no classes. You will have the team in the meeting room. You will teach the techniques to the course. I will be there.”
That’s what he (Stansbury) meant.
He (Rice) made me teach it.
I can recite it to this day. There were times when I didn’t do it at various places the way I wish I had.
When you look at what happened at Tech from 1980-1997, it’s stunning.
Q: I know you think this is a good hire, but why is this a good hire?
A: It’s a great hire. It’s because the guy is the best qualified to do it. That’s the reason you should hire people. I know it’s a coaching truism thing.
One of the things that’s eccentric about Tech is there’s a tug-of-war between the groups on campus between faculty, coaches, administrators and athletes. I know it’s unique because I’ve been at a lot of other places.
Tech has a demanding aspect. If you haven’t been through it it’s hard to understand. It doesn’t mean we are better than everyone else. It doesn’t mean we are smarter than everyone else.
I learned how to think and work because I had no choice.
I tell people this and they laugh. We had an 8 or 9 o’clock class on Saturday and you had to pay Alabama at 2 o’clock. Well, you had better be at class. That’s what mattered to Bobby Dodd. And then he expects you to beat Alabama.
You have that mentality, ‘OK this is what I have to do next and then you stop moaning about it.’
Q: When did you recognize that he had potential to lead and perhaps one day become Tech’s next A.D.?
A: Probably…I can’t swear there was a certain time, but probably when he was at Houston. People would say to me, “This guy of yours is dynamite.”
I thought that but he began to develop a reputation in the industry to develop an excellence in all of the things that the Total Person Program embodies. All of those things sound pedantic, but most people really don’t do them.
Some people can get young people to do them, but some can’t. He can.
I love Todd and have always been proud of him. He’s dynamite.
Q: What’s job No.1 for him at Tech?
A: Be the leader. “Here is who we are. Here is what we are going to do. You choose. You are the part of the problem or the solution.”
Everybody has to understand that everybody has to pull together to get the job done.
That’s what will happen. He knows how to do it without being arrogant or without being offensive.
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.