By Gianna Misenhelter
Big 12 Campus Correspondent
Curry Sexton has a passion for coaching, after all he’s been coaching practically his entire life.
Enter Sexton’s younger brother, Collin, and that’s where his passion for coaching is rooted. In the backyard of their home in Abilene, Kan., the two played every sport imaginable: soccer, baseball, basketball, golf, and, of course, football, and Sexton served as coach.
“Growing up they always got along really well,” said Jan Sexton, Curry and Collin’s mother. “Curry could take things and explain it so quickly to Collin or even his friends. I would just stand there and just be amazed. Curry gets things super quickly and he has a really natural knack. I don’t know if it’s a lot of common sense along with intelligence, but whatever it is, whatever the challenge is, whatever is in front of Curry, he gets it.”
Most of us can remember watching Nickelodeon or The Disney Channel on TV after school or on the weekends, but for Curry that was never the case.
“I always just watched SportsCenter and whatever sports were on TV, I’ve always just kind of been a sports nut, stats and everything,” said Curry.
If you ask Curry, he will tell you that football was never his favorite sport growing up, instead he dreamed of being a soccer or basketball star, but when the chance arose to play football as a freshman in high school, he accepted the challenge.
Curry lettered four years at Abilene High School as a quarterback, wide receiver and defensive back, where he helped the Cowboys to a pair of league titles. A First-Team All-Kansas 4A defensive back by the Topeka Capital Journal, Wichita Eagle and Kansas Football Coaches Association as a senior, he was rated as the 14th-best prospect in the state by Rivals.com in 2009. He was also earned all-conference honors as a quarterback.
“They had me playing quarterback, but I wasn’t very good,” said Curry. “I would just run the ball. I could run but I couldn’t throw, so I just ran all the time. Then sophomore year I switched to receiver because our quarterback was a lot better than I was. I had a pretty good year, so I started sending out recruiting letters.”
This is where things got interesting.
A standout student in addition to being a stellar player on the field, Curry began getting looks from the likes of Harvard, Northwestern and Duke.
Sexton’s mom recalls a lot of conversation going on around their kitchen table of where Curry would attend college after she had the opportunity to travel with him on various recruiting visits.
“He had actually kind of settled on Harvard. I could just tell it would have been a really good fit for him at Harvard knowing Curry, and he loved it there... I probably loved it there more,” said Jan.
Obviously, Curry never ended up going to Harvard because when the call came from K-State offering him a spot on the team, his entire plan changed and his passion for coaching kicked in.
“It wasn’t as big of a deal passing up an Ivy League education because I could have gone there and got a business degree, but I wouldn’t have been as involved in football or learned from one of the best coaches that’s ever coached or from great players who go on to the NFL. For what I want to do, it made a lot more sense,” Curry said.
During his time as a Wildcat, Curry has seen his playing time steadily increase, first as a regular on special teams and now as the team’s No. 2 option at wide receiver. As a sophomore, he scored his first touchdown – a 27-yard reception – in a win over Miami, while as a junior, he ranked second on the team in receptions with 39 for 446 yards and was the only player with a reception in all 13 games. He posted a career-best 112 yards receiving, including a career-long 32-yard catch, on just six receptions against West Virginia in 2013.
As the 2014 season gets under way, Curry has emerged as a solid option at wide out and has become a major contributor on special teams. He has seen action in 37 games, including seven starts a season ago, with an average of 11.3 yards per catch in his career. He has also been recognized for his leadership on and off the field, as he was voted one of two honorary captains (along with Dante Barnett) and one of 14 player representatives.
Curry’s success on the field has been met with challenges. He’s overcome various injuries and has worked hard to move his way up on the depth chart. Fortunately, work ethic was something instilled in him at a very young age by his father Ted, who works 12 to 15 hour days on the family farm in Abilene, Kansas.
“He was our role model as far as work ethic,” said Curry. “I remember when I was about 10 or 12 years old I was trying to stay inside and play video games, my dad was always talking about work ethic and as I grew up and matured I started to really work harder and follow in his footsteps.”
Following footsteps is a common theme in the Sexton family.
In 2011, Collin was offered a spot at K-State and Curry’s opportunity to serve as a coach and mentor to his younger brother presented itself once again.
“I actually was kind of rebellious in a way because it was all about Curry going to K-State,” said Collin. “I almost wanted to go anywhere else, just do my own thing, but as much as I tried to fight it, it was clear that I needed to come here, should come here, and there was really no other place I wanted to go.”
The “family” atmosphere that encompasses K-State football is certainly true, as the Sextons are one of two sets of brothers represented on the team (along with Mitch and Myles Copeland) this season and one of six in recent memory, including Anthony and Jack Cantele, Collin and Kyle Klein, Evan and Jared Loomis and Darrin and Matt Seiwert.
Family, at K-State is important to us all, and Curry epitomizes the importance of family as he looks out for Collin daily.
“I’ve just tried to set a bar for [Collin] to try and chase because he has three years left and he’s starting to work his way onto the field, so I think it will be important for him,” said Curry. “I can always be there for him as something to chase and something to set his sights on.”
This summer, Curry started the process of making his coaching dreams come true, interning with K-State Athletics in the Ahearn Fund. He hopes to follow in the footsteps of his uncle, John Dorsey, a former NFL player and longtime scout with the Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks, who became general manager of the Kansas City Chiefs in 2013.
Come December, Curry will graduate from K-State with two degrees in marketing and management and a minor in leadership studies.
Most athletes struggle with getting one degree while playing sports for their respective university, but for a guy with scholarship offers from Harvard, receiving two degrees, playing football and managing to be a three-time First Team Academic All-Big 12 selection, it must seem like a piece of cake.
In January, Curry’s journey from college athlete to coach will take flight.
“I’m going to have to be ready for the future right after the season is over,” Curry said. “I just want to be able to teach and be around the game. I don’t think I could be sitting at a desk doing business in a suit all day... that just wouldn’t be my style.”