Jack Curtis - 2012
In just his first season as defensive coordinator, Jack Curtis helped the Eagles to their ninth Southern Conference championship. Curtis, who joined the coaching staff after the 2010 season, brings with him more than 20 years of college coaching experience to Georgia Southern.
In 2011 four defensive starters were named All-Southern Conference and three players (Brent Russell, Laron Scott, Roderick Tinsley) were selected as All-Americans. Russell also won the SoCon’s Defensive Player of the Year Award. Scott drew interest from a number of scouts and signed as an undrafted free agent with the New Orleans Saints.
Curtis came to Statesboro after one season as the defensive coordinator at Central Missouri. Central Missouri posted a program-best 11 wins and finished the 2010 season with a No. 5 ranking, the highest in Mules’ history. Curtis joined UCM after a year on the staff at Memphis, where he coached the safeties and had responsibilities for the kickoff, punt and field goal block aspects of the Tigers’ special teams units.
After eight years on the defensive staff at Northwestern State University, including the last three as defensive coordinator, Curtis was offered the position of co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach at Arkansas State. Curtis took over a defense that had ranked 61st nationally in pass defense the year before and he helped the Red Wolves improve to 16th nationally in pass defense and 39th in total defense. In those eight seasons, the NSU defense produced 18 All-Sun Belt honorees and two Sun Belt Defensive Players of the Year in Tyrell Johnson (2007) and Alex Carrington (2008).
Johnson, a four-time All-Sun Belt selection, was the top tackler for the Red Wolves and broke the league’s all-time tackles record. He was selected in the second round of the 2008 NFL Draft. Carrington was a third-round pick of the Buffalo Bills in 2010. Joining Johnson in the Red Wolves secondary as a member of the All-Sun Belt first team was Khayyam Burns, who signed a rookie free agent contract with the Kansas City Chiefs.
Curtis coached six first-team All-Americans and nine players who were selected in the NFL draft. More than a dozen of his former players signed with NFL teams, including several who are on current rosters. The list includes 2005 Pro Bowl cornerback Terrence McGee and Michael Green. Fourth-round draft pick Kenny Wright, Keith Thibodeaux and David Pittman, a third-round draft pick, were also coached by Curtis. Several of Curtis’ other former players continued their football careers in the Canadian, NFL Europe and other professional leagues.
During Curtis’ tenure at Arkansas State, the Red Wolves ranked in the top 30 in the country in pass defense four times and in the top 50 in total defense five times. In 2007 and 2009, ASU was the leading defensive unit in the Sun Belt Conference. ASU was ranked 30th nationally in rush defense and in the top 50 in both scoring and total defense in Curtis’ final season with the program.
Curtis’ 4-3 defensive play calling was instrumental in Arkansas State’s 18-14 win over Texas A&M in 2008 as the Red Wolves shutout the Aggies in the final three quarters. His switch to a 4-3 defensive scheme was also key to the Red Wolves’ 2005 Sun Belt championship season and their first-ever appearance in a bowl game.
Northwestern State’s players thrived under Curtis’ direction, most notably All-American defensive backs Jermaine Jones and Tony Joe Maranto. Jones, a cornerback, was named the Southland Conference Player of the Year in 1998. He was selected as the 1997 Southland Conference Defensive Player of the Year.
A first-team all-state defensive back at Silver City High School in New Mexico, Curtis played three years at Evangel University before injuries cut his collegiate football career short. He began his coaching career in what would have been his senior year as a student coach for the Crusaders.
After graduation Curtis accepted a position as a graduate assistant coach at Henderson State University and earned his master’s degree in physical education in 1990. He moved to Starkville, Miss., where a graduate assistant coaching position at Mississippi State allowed him to begin his specialist’s degree in educational leadership and work with the Bulldogs’ coaching staff. Curtis remained as a volunteer coach from 1991 through August of 1992 and worked with the Bulldogs’ defensive backs.
Western New Mexico hired Curtis as its secondary coach in 1993. He returned to Silver City, N.M., and helped lead the Mustangs to a 7-3 record, the NAIA playoffs and a No. 3 NAIA final national ranking. Curtis’ defense led the nation with 29 interceptions and free safety Chris Edmond snatched 13 to lead the nation in that category.
Born in Birmingham, Ala., Curtis grew up in the South before his family moved to New Mexico where he attended high school. He is married to the former Michelle Weser of Dumas, Ark., and they have two daughters, Carolina and Georganna.