North Hills' McCurry resigns, Gateway's Smith headed to Temple
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Two of the WPIAL's most recognizable coaches have decided to move on.
Long-time North Hills coach Jack McCurry resigned after 35 seasons, and Gateway coach Terry Smith has been hired as an assistant coach at Temple, assuring his embattled departure after more than a decade with the Gators.
McCurry accumulated a 281-108-9 record with the Indians, including four WPIAL championships and 14 conference titles, as well as the 1993 PIAA title and 1987 national championship crown.
“I appreciate the opportunity that the district entrusted to me for the past 35 years,” he said in a news release. “I have enjoyed serving as the head football coach and hope that the North Hills Indians will continue to demonstrate success both on and off the field. I particularly want to thank all of the student-athletes that played for me over the years and the assistant coaches for their support, as our success was a direct result of their collective work.”
McCurry was inducted into the Pennsylvania Scholastic Football Coaches Hall of Fame in 2001 and the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame in 2008. He also is a member of the Edinboro University Athletic Hall of Fame, where he earned All-American honors as a safety and tailback.
“I speak for the entire North Hills community when I say he, his coaches and players provided us many memorable moments,” athletic director Dan Cardone said in the release. “His teams, regardless of their talent level, felt when they took the field they had a chance to win.”
Smith will oversee the receivers at Temple, he confirmed in a text message. It's a departure that his Gateway players expected, but still they hoped it wouldn't come.
“I don't think it's going to be the same without him,” junior Delvon Randall said. “He was more than a coach to me; he's like a father figure. ... I don't think any coach could ever replace him.”
Smith's exit was prompted by a school board policy approved last year that would prevent the athletic director from also being a head coach. Smith held both positions at his alma mater. The policy was scheduled to take effect June 30.
The board also reduced the athletic director position to part-time status. Smith filed a complaint in October with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that said the decision was racially motivated.
He met last week with Gateway's football players and told them he likely was leaving.
“It was disappointing for us,” junior Anthony Davis said, “but it's a good move for him and his family.”
Smith was head coach for 11 seasons, compiling a 101-30 record. His teams reached the playoffs every year, and Gateway was WPIAL Class AAAA runner-up four times.
Smith coached receivers at Duquesne University from 1997-2000. He was a wideout at Penn State in the early 1990s and was drafted by the Washington Redskins in the 11th round in 1992.
Chris Harlan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at email@example.com or via Twitter @ChrisHarlanTrib.
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