April 14, 2014
HOUSTON--- After a lengthy battle with various heart problems, former University of Houston head women's basketball coach Joe Curl, passed away Monday morning at the age of 59.
The legendary coach is widely regarded as one of the best in Houston Basketball history, as he compiled an all-time record of 193-167 in 12 seasons at the helm. He also went 97-87 in all-time Conference USA action.
His all-time overall victories and all-time conference wins are both the most by any coach in school history, while he guided the Cougars to back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances in 2004 and 2005, and helped UH land three trips to the WNIT in 2001, 2002, and 2010.
"Today we mourn the loss of Joe Curl, a dear member of the University. His family and friends are in our prayers and thoughts," said Houston Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics Mack Rhoades. "Joe was a special member of our athletics family, serving not only as head coach, but as a mentor to many young women throughout the years. His presence and larger than life personality will be missed by all who had the pleasure to know him."
Curl is responsible for five of Houston's nine all-time postseason appearances, including a 2004 season that to many was considered one of the best years in program history, as the squad won a school-record 28 games to go along with a clean sweep of the Conference USA regular season and tournament championships. The program also notched its very first NCAA Tournament victory that season with 62-47 victory over Green Bay.
Curl recorded seven winning seasons during his time at UH and was named National Coach of the Year by the Associated Press, Basketball Times, USBWA, and ESPN.com following the record-setting 2003-04 campaign.
Under Curl's leadership, former Cougar standout Chandi Jones (2000-04) was named the C-USA Female Athlete of the Decade. Jones is one of only five UH basketball players, male or female (Otis Birdsong, Clyde Drexler, Elvin Hayes, Hakeem Olajuwon) to have their jersey retired.
Curl came to Houston following the 1997-98 season, which marked UH's sixth-straight season finishing with a .500 record or below. Although the program struggled in his first two seasons, earning a 5-22 (1-15 C-USA) mark in 1998-99 and a 7-21 (3-13 C-USA) finish during 1999-2000, Curl turned that into a 19-12 (10-6 C-USA) record during 2000-01.
That turnaround was cited as one of the biggest surprises in all of Division I women's basketball that season.
Funeral services for Curl will be held at 7 p.m., Thursday, April 17, at Rosewood Funeral Home in Pasadena, Texas (3939 Pasadena Blvd.). Visitation will begin at 5 p.m. Thursday and will be preceeded by a cookout honoring Curl at Rosewood Funeral Home beginning at 12 p.m. Dress for the event is casual.