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June 16, 2012

Coach William 'Tige' Curran: As opportunities improved, so did the athletes

By Mike Lowe mlowe@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

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William "Tige" Curran

TITLE XI VIGNETTES

Julia Pitney
Brush with bias shapes life of advocacy
Read her story

Joyce Wheeler
An early taste of inequities, then a chance to change them
Read her story

Lynn Welch
Once Title IX began, she saw fairness, respect
Read her story

Leigh Saufley
When Saufley was in school, ‘girls’ sports were not big’
Read her story

Dr. Dora Anne Mills
Sports in school became a lifetime passion
Read her story

Gary Fifield
USM was strong advocate of women’s programs, coach says
Read his story

Joanne P. McCallie
“Title IX gave me a sense of belonging”
Read her story

Emily Ellis
“I knew I could play with those guys’’
Read her story

Kristen (Briggs) Carmichael
Star athlete grateful for better scholarship opportunities
Read her story

Janet Judge
Opportunities fuel pride, and a desire to give back
Read her story

Coach William “Tige’’ Curran
As opportunities improved, so did the athletes
Read his story

Sarah (Marshall) Ryan
Reaping the benefits of ‘the people who came before me’
Read her story

“Our uniforms,’’ he said, “were the boys’ soccer shirts. The girls wore their own blue jeans and sneakers.’’

Curran retired in 2008, 32 years later after turning the Rams’ program into one of the best in the state. Deering won four state championships in the 1980s. Curran, also Deering’s head football coach for 11 years during that span, saw a great leap in women’s sports in his tenure.

“The big thing was the girls got better coaching, and it was very noticeable when they came up,’’ he said. “Those first few years, the indoor tryouts in the gym, you were taking your life in your hands.

“We would have 30 kids and maybe three or four could catch the ball. The rest, you had to teach. As time went on, the girls got more skilled and stronger. By the 80s, we had girls come along who could really play.’’

Those weren’t the only changes Curran saw. Playing fields improved. Uniforms became, well, uniform.

“I remember one year the baseball team got these nice new warm-ups,’’ he said. “They weren’t weather-proof. But they were really nice.

“We got these cheap polyester things that didn’t do a thing. It took some talking, but we got better ones. We only wore those for one year. You had to take time to make people realize things had to be equal.’’

Curran, who came out of retirement this year to help his daughter Maureen coach the Cheverus softball team, has three daughters who were all active in sports at South Portland High. So he saw Title IX from a parent’s perspective as well.

Overall, he’s proud of the progress he’s seen in girls’ sports over the past 40 years.

“I think once people understood things should be equal, things really improved,’’ he said. “I guess I feel good about it.’’

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