Brother Chris Curran ’93
Mike Whaley: Curran’s passion for soccer and life was contagious
Chris Curran loved life, and in life, he had a passion for the sport of soccer. In many ways, it was who he was.
A 1988 graduate of Spaulding High School, Curran devoted his life to the sport he loved. A college soccer coach since 1999, Curran spent the last five years as the head men’s coach at SUNY Cobleskill. Curran died unexpectedly on Feb. 4 at the age of 45.
“He loved kids,” said close friend John Creteau. “He had a magical way with kids. When it came to kids, Chris liked to see them enjoy life.”
Another friend and high school soccer teammate, Paul George, remembers when he coached the Spaulding boys’ soccer team, Curran offered his soccer expertise.
“He had all the coaching licenses and he was instrumental in helping me to evaluate kids,” George said. “I could play, but I couldn’t evaluate. He gave me plenty of skill drills to do.”
Curran also ran Spaulding’s preseason conditioning program for a half dozen years.
“Chris ran this two-week thing and it gave us a good jumpstart to the season,” George said. “He was extremely fun to be around.”
The Cobleskill community is understandably stunned by his death, a loss Cobleskill assistant men’s soccer coach Bryan Cronkhite said the school is still trying to come to terms with.
“An absolutely great guy,” said Cronkhite, who was an assistant under Curran for four years. “Just an A-plus guy. He loved the game of soccer. More importantly, he put the student-athlete first. He was always concerned about them going to class and doing well academically.”
For Curran, it wasn’t necessarily about wins and losses. It was about the kids he coached.
“He wanted the game played the right way,” Cronkhite said. “He wanted the kids to play their hardest. And if they made a mistake, make up for it by working harder.”
Curran was an energetic presence on the sidelines, quick to praise his players, but also ready to offer constructive criticism when needed.
“Any coaching staff, any college team, has its ups and downs,” Cronkhite said. “We always stayed positive and tried to build on those experiences to help with their life experiences down the road. That’s what he always tried to do.”
Curran got his soccer coaching start at Oyster River High School in Durham. He was an assistant at Plymouth State College as well, all the time pursuing his degree.
He graduated from the University of New Hampshire in 1999 and earned his Master’s in Education, Sports Science and Coaching from the University of Akron. His first college head coaching stint was at Mount Senario College in Wisconsin in 1999. He was there for three years until the college dropped its athletics programs in 2001. His 2000 Fighting Saints team went 22-1, won the conference championship and advanced to the quarterfinals of the NAIA national tournament.
He then coached soccer at Mount Union College in Ohio for four years, three as the head men’s coach. He was an assistant at Akron in 2007. He was hired to guide Cobleskill in 2010.
This past soccer season, Cronkhite said Curran and he were called on to coach the Cobleskill women’s team as well when that position became vacant.
“The last seven games of the season we were also the women’s coach,” Cronkhite said. “It’s been a lot of work for me personally with both boys and girls this past week. It’s been interesting. He touched each of the kids in a certain way.”
Cronkhite said Curran enjoyed taking the teams on trips to places like Washington, DC, and Philadelphia.
“He made a point of when we went to DC to see the White House and the Lincoln Memorial,” Cronkhite said. “When we went to Philly, we saw the Liberty Bell and he made sure everyone tried a Philly cheese streak — one of his favorites. He felt it was important to give the team the chance to experience everything there.
“We source the horse to drink the water, but he wanted to have the water there for them,” Cronkhite added.
With his parents still living in the same Barrington home, Curran frequently returned N.H. Summers might find Curran holding area soccer clinics, helping with community projects or hanging with friends, and making new ones. The effect of his infectious smile lingering long after he packed up the soccer balls and left.
“He had a contagious personality,” George said. “He never felt out of place. He could always fit in. I’ve seen him in situations with young and old, male and female, all levels of society. He just had a way about him. It made him fun to be around.”
With Curran, of course, it inevitably came back to his passion – soccer. Honoring that passion, his family plans to establish an athletic scholarship in Curran’s name. Donations may be sent to SUNY Cobleskill, c/o Kevin McCarthy, Director of Athletics, 107 Schenectedy Ave., Cobleskill, NY 12043.
“He loved soccer,” George said. “If you were around him and you had a soccer background, it was something you wanted to talk about. He had this great knowledge of soccer. He made it his life’s path.”
A path that along the way touched those he coached and those he met.
Mike Whaley is the Sports Editor for Foster’s Daily Democrat and the Rochester Times. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 603-516-2949.
Christopher J. Curran GUILDERLAND, N.Y. – Christopher J. Curran, 45 of Barrington, NH and Guilderland, N.Y. died Wednesday, February 4, 2015.
He was born April 18, 1969, in San Francisco, California the son of Michael and Kathleen (O’Donnell) Curran. Chris graduated Spaulding High School, attended UNH, graduated from University System New Hampshire of Lifelong Learning, and received his MA at the University of Akron.
He began coaching at Oyster River High School, then Plymouth College, Mt Seen in Ladysmith, WI, Mt Union College in Alliance Ohio, University of Akron, and Suny Cobleskill.
He is predeceased by his grandparents, Margaret and William Berg and Marion and Patrick Curran. He is survived by his parents, Kathleen and Michael, sister Trish Grewal (Bob) nieces Ally Soden, Maya Grewal, nephews Ayden and Ishan Grewal; aunts, Arline Stull, Chico Ca. and Patricia Presnal of Newport RI and uncles, John Curran of Newport RI and Dan Cain (Ann) LaHonda Calif. and many cousins in California and Texas as well as his extended family: Mallego Road Boys and The Crew.
Visiting hours will be Wednesday February 11, 2015 from 3 to 7 p.m. at the Tasker Funeral Home, 621 Central Ave., Dover. The funeral service will be Thursday at 11 a.m. at the funeral home. Flowers are acceptable and memorials in his name may be made to an athletic scholarship being established.
From the SUNY Cobleskill website
Chris Curran: Head Men’s Soccer Coach – SUNY Cobleskill
Having completed two seasons at the helm the SUNY Cobleskill program, head men’s soccer coach Chris Curran became the seventh head coach in the program’s history in March of 2010 after the resignation of previous head coach Gregory Moss-Brown. During his first season in 2010 season the Fighting Tigers posted a 4-12-1 overall record including a 1-7-1 mark in North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) play which was followed in 2011 by a 5-14 overall mark with a 3-7 record in conference play. Curran graduated from the University of New Hampshire in Concord, NH in 1999 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Physical Education and Coaching and subsequently earned his Master’s in Education, Sport Science and Coaching from the University of Akron in Akron, OH, where he served as an Assistant Women’s Soccer Coach, in 2007.
The New Hampshire native also holds: National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) “Premier”, Advanced National and National Licenses as well as United States Soccer Federation (USSF): Class ‘A’, Class ‘B’, Class ‘C’, National Youth, National and Advanced National Licenses. He began his college coaching career at Mount Scenario College in Ladysmith WI in 1999 taking over the men’s program during the 2000 season posting a 22-1 overall record and guiding “The Fighting Saints” to the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference (UMAC) Championship and a National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) National Championship Tournament appearance losing in the tournament’s quarterfinals. He was named the UMAC 2000 Coach-of-the-Year for his team accomplishments. During his tenure at the college he also served as the college’s Director of Intramurals and the Assistant Baseball Coach. After Mount Scenario dropped its intercollegiate athletic program in 2001; Curran became the Director of Player Development and Associate Director of Coaching at the Northside Soccer Club in Rock Hill, SC, until 2003 when he accepted a job at Mount Union College in Alliance, OH as the program’s Assistant Coach for both Men’s & Women’s Soccer. In 2004 he assumed Mount Union’s position as Head Men’s Soccer Coach in which he posted a 14-34-5 overall mark in three years. While at Mount Union he also served as an Associate Instructor of Human Performance and Physical Education as well as the college’s Assistant Swimming & Diving Coach. Coach Curran also instructs classes in SUNY Cobleskill’s Department of Sport & Exercise.