clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Smart guys running the Pistons

New, comments

Is it possible that I never mentioned Joe Dumars finally getting his college degree on this site? I posted about it on FanHouse, but for the life of me can't find a single reference here (outside of the comments, at least -- nothing gets by your collective attention).

In any case, Yahoo's Adrian Wojnarowski has another good article on the subject (via DBB reader Chad):

As soon as his attorney called with an invitation to deliver a college commencement address, a surreal sense of certainty washed over Joe Dumars. Yes, it was time. All these years, all the wisdom and accomplishment that inspired Central Michigan to honor the Detroit Pistons president, and finally those lingering 21 credits crashed into his consciousness.

"How could I accept a doctorate," Dumars said, "and not have a degree?"

Dumars left college with a terrific education in 1985, but no diploma. He always planned to finish, but the world came fast and whisked him out of little Lake Charles, La. There were short summers with those Pistons’ playoff runs, a growing family, and eventually the move upstairs to run basketball operations at 36 years old. There was always something.

[...] "It always gnawed at me," Dumars said. "It just gnawed. I’m always talking to my players, and my organization about, ‘No excuses.’ You play 14 years, and become a president of a team and you just haven’t had the time – or rather, you didn’t make any time – to get it done. The academic theme surrounds my entire household. Anytime it would come up with my wife, with our kids, this would be in the back of my mind. …To me, that wasn’t just a piece of paper."

Speaking of degrees, Michael Curry has two: after graduating with a degree in finance from Georgia Southern in 1990, he eventually earned a masters in sports management from Virginia Commonwealth University back when he was still playing with the Pistons in 2001.

I bring this up because I just found out (via MLive's Patrick Hayes and DBB reader Chad) that Curry also taught a sports-business seminar at VCU back in 2004. From an old Business Week article:

Michael Curry had lots to talk about at Richmond's Virginia Commonwealth University, where he has just finished teaching a sports-business seminar. He's no ordinary prof: A 6-foot-5-inch Toronto Raptors forward, Curry, 35, is enmeshed in the latest round of labor negotiations as president of the National Basketball Players Assn.

Curry, who spent his summers picking up a master's degree from Virginia Common-wealth in sports leadership, taught his 22 graduate students the nuances of contract negotiation, drafting, and managing top athletes. Fellow NBA players Grant Hill and Spencer Haywood, plus union Executive Director Billy Hunter, were guest speakers during the weeklong class.

It's not especially relevant to anything happening right now, but I found it interesting. A lot of coaches who were former players are hired on reputation alone, but Curry seems to have followed a deliberate path to learn how to become a better leader and teacher.