Tech hires Curry to replace Sharp

LUBBOCK, Texas -- Kristy Curry, who coached Purdue to the NCAA Tournament in all seven of her seasons there, was introduced Thursday as Marsha Sharp's replacement at Texas Tech.

Curry signed a five-year contract worth at least $425,000 in base salary and outside income the first year. The deal will grow to a guarantee in the final year of $600,000, similar to what Sharp was making when she retired after 24 years.

The 39-year-old Curry met with Tech officials earlier this week and accepted the job Wednesday. She grew up in Louisiana and spent several years as an assistant in Texas.

She thanked Tech officials at a news conference for "having the faith and confidence in an old country girl, and beyond words, I'm incredibly proud to be part of the Lady Raider nation."

Curry was 179-51 at Purdue, her first head coaching stop. She was an assistant at Stephen F. Austin (1993-94) and Texas A&M (1994-96).

"I can't express to you how happy we are to be back in Texas," she said.

Her former boss, Purdue athletic director Morgan Burke, acknowledged he couldn't top the pull of the Lone Star State.

"If Purdue were in Texas, she'd still be here," he said late Wednesday after Curry told him she was coming to Tech.

Curry's husband, Kelly, a Hillsboro native and Texas A&M graduate, was an assistant under her all seven years at Purdue. Curry said she hasn't made any decisions about her staff.

Curry called herself a "high energy" coach who gets excited sometimes but tries to behave.

"I am not a yeller and a kicker and screamer unless we need to be," Curry said. "We are just going to have fun with it."

Her Boilermakers lost to Notre Dame 68-66 in the 2001 NCAA championship game, two years after the school won a title under Carolyn Peck, whom Curry replaced in 1999. On Sunday, Purdue lost 70-68 to Final Four-bound North Carolina in the regional semifinals.

Sharp, a member of the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame, never had a losing season at Tech, and her Lady Raiders won the 1993 national title behind Sheryl Swoopes. Her career record was 572-189, and Tech reached 16 consecutive NCAA Tournaments before finishing 15-14 and missing out this year.

"I'm not Marsha Sharp," Curry said. "I'm Kristy Curry, and I pray that will be good enough."

Sharp, who resigned last month, will stay at Tech as an associate athletic director.

Tech athletic director Gerald Myers said he'd never met Curry before talking with her on the phone. He was wowed.

"I was just thinking this is the person we want for this job," Myers said. "The reasons are too numerous to name."

For one, Myers said, Curry won 76 percent of her games in the Big Ten, best in the conference over the last seven years.

Curry said she's looking forward to recruiting and getting to know her new team.

"It is people first with me," Curry said. "I want to get to know them as people. It is the person that makes the player. And we are going to have a big time."