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Headshot photo of Tom Curle wearing a beige suit with a red polka dot tie underneath a covered walkway on campus.

Tom Curle, New York State Basketball Hall of Fame Inductee

Apr 15, 2024

Florida Southern College boasts a faculty and staff of accomplished professionals who excel within and beyond their fields. Among them is Tom Curle, Director of Advancement at the Barney Barnett School of Business & Free Enterprise. In March, Curle was inducted into the New York State Basketball Hall of Fame, marking a significant milestone as the first inductee of Asian descent and honoring his career coaching basketball at his alma mater, the State University of New York at Plattsburgh.

Curle served as Head Coach for the Cardinals Men's Basketball team from 2003 to 2018. Overall, Curle amassed 556 wins and qualified for 12 National Tournaments, including one Final Four, three Elite Eights, and three Sweet 16s.  He graduated from SUNY Plattsburgh with a degree in secondary education social studies, initially aspiring to coach at the high school level before seizing the opportunity in collegiate athletics.

Effective leadership lies at the heart of fostering a team of strong individuals on and off the court, and Coach Curle knows this. Leadership skills came naturally to Curle in some areas with his outgoing personality and life experiences. As a coach, Curle emphasized the importance of fostering these skills by establishing core values, including meaningful relationships, education, and diversity, which he integrates into his approach.

"I can't sit here and say this is natural to me. You have to read and make sure you know that each group of students you're coaching is going to be a little different and listen to what their needs are. Relationships that endure are very important to me, education is very important to me, and diversity is very important to me," said Curle.

Curle's journey to becoming the first inductee of Asian descent is a testament to his resilience and the influence of his mother. His mother, who faced adversity in her early years, including a relocation from North Korea due to political tensions, instilled in him a drive for personal and communal achievement. Growing up in an era where individuals of Asian descent were rare in athletics, Curle cherished the opportunity to play and coach college basketball. His success is a personal triumph and a tribute to his mother's unwavering support and belief in him.

Curle assumed his role at FSC in 2022. The connection Curle has found between coaching and being Director of Advancement has allowed him to become successful in his role. Curle parallels the two, finding that both involve purpose, value, and the positive service of others. He sees this in the School of Business at FSC, reflected in their leadership efforts, faculty, and Center for Free Enterprise, making the transition seamless.

"It's easy for me to tell people in the community to come and see what we're doing. You will want to support Florida Southern College because it's not just good for the students here. It's good for the community; it's good for Lakeland. The things I did in coaching have transferred very well to this position and I have no hesitation telling people Florida Southern College is a special place and that the School of Business is doing it the right way. That's been an easy transfer for me," said Curle.

Florida Southern College celebrates Curle's achievement and recognizes his contributions as a coach and faculty member. Congratulations Coach Curle!