ATLANTA – November 4, 2015 – Special Olympics Georgia confirmed on Wednesday that former Atlanta Falcons linebacker Buddy Curry will serve as the Grand Marshal for the upcoming 2016 State Indoor Winter Games. The Games will take place January 22-24 in the Marietta/Cobb County area.
“We are extremely honored to have someone like Buddy Curry serve as the Grand Marshal for these State Indoor Winter Games,” said Special Olympics Georgia Communications and Marketing Manager Lee Wright. “As a boy growing up, I have great memories of when Buddy played for the Falcons. Since then, he’s been a pillar in the Atlanta area with his involvement in youth sports and football development.
“I know he’s excited about this great opportunity, and our organization is excited that he will be a part of our Winter Games. Our sincere thanks to Brenda Johnston and the Atlanta Falcons Alumni Department for helping make this happen.”
A native of Greenville, N.C., Curry was an All-ACC linebacker under head coach Dick Crum at North Carolina from 1975-1979. While at North Carolina, he was teammate of future NFL Hall of Fame outside linebacker Lawrence Taylor.
Selected by the Falcons and head coach Leeman Bennett in the second round of the 1980 NFL Draft, Curry immediately became one of the cornerstones to the Falcons’ “Gritz Blitz” defense. In his rookie season, he was selected NFC All-Pro and the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, helping the Falcons win the NFC West Division with a 12-4 record. Curry was also an NFC All-Pro in 1982. His playing career spanned eight seasons with the Falcons, with the last season coming in 1987.
Since his playing days concluded, Curry founded the non-profit corporation Kids & Pros, a character-based youth sports organization that engages retired NFL Players in their communities to teach football fundamental skills & character lessons to youth ages 7–13. Under his leadership, Kids & Pros has become one of the fastest-growing interactive community programs in the country, using an approach that emphasizes football fundamental, position specific training, and character development.
In addition, Curry also serves as a Master Trainer for USA Football, the Official Youth Football Development Partner of the National Football League. He and his wife, Dawn, live in Buford and have four children – Justin, Jessel, David and Gabby. Jessel originally signed with Auburn as a linebacker, but transferred and finished his collegiate career at Delaware. David is a freshman linebacker this season at Georgia Tech.
About Special Olympics Georgia SOGA provides year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for 26,702 children and adults with intellectual disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy, and participate in the sharing of gifts, skills, and friendships with their families, other Special Olympic athletes and the community. For more information, visit www.specialolympicsga.org.