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Greenville Business Magazine

Pierre Curtis Named Women’s Head Basketball Coach At Furman

Jun 09, 2023 12:45PM ● By David Dykes

Pierre Curtis has been named the new women’s head basketball coach at Furman, it was announced June 9, 2023, by Jason Donnelly, vice president for Intercollegiate Athletics.

Curtis, a 10-year member of the Paladin women’s basketball program, served as an assistant coach over his first six years before being elevated to associate head coach in 2019. 

He succeeds Jackie Carson, who accepted a position with the Atlantic Coast Conference following 12 years at Furman. 

The ACC announced that Carson has been hired as its senior associate commissioner for women’s basketball.

Curtis becomes the eighth head coach in program history that spans 49 seasons.

“We are excited to have Pierre Curtis lead our women’s basketball program,” said Donnelly. “Over the past decade, coach Curtis has played a critical role in the growth of our program and in the successes of our student-athletes, on the court and off. He has earned the respect of our team, our coaches, and our administration through his leadership, commitment to athletic and academic excellence, his ability to recruit and then develop players, and his shared values with Furman Athletics."

Donnelly added, "We look forward to supporting coach Curtis as we build upon the strong foundation that has been established and elevate our women’s basketball program to even greater heights.”

“I want thank Jason Donnelly and President Davis for trusting me with this great opportunity,” Curtis said. “I am also very grateful to Jackie Carson for all she has done for me and Furman University. To have my first head coaching job be at a place where I have such affinity and connection to is a dream come true. 

He added, "I can’t wait to begin working with our team and building towards our goals of winning a conference championship and having NCAA tournament success.”

In February he was among 21 assistant coaches selected to participate in the inaugural class of the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) Next Generation Institute, a new high-level education program for experienced assistant coaches who aspire to become head coaches at the NCAA Division I, II and III levels. 

During his decade at Furman, Curtis has been involved in all aspects of the program, most notably as recruiting coordinator. He has played a key role in signing and helping develop 19 All-Southern Conference performers, including at least one selection every year.  

That consistency has also been reflected in the 11 SoCon All-Freshman Team selections earned by Paladins during Curtis’ tenure, as Furman has placed a representative on the squad every year over his span on staff.

The most heralded player Curtis recruited and helped develop was consensus SoCon Player of the Year forward Tierra Hodges, who paced the league in scoring and rebounding while keying the Paladins to 20 wins during the 2021-22 campaign. 

Others signed to Furman and/or developed on the court with Curtis’ help include two-time All-SoCon forward Brittany Hodges, two-time all-league forward Holli Wilkins, three-time all-conference guard, and all-time assist leader Whitney Bunn, and career 3-point field goal shooting leader Le’Jzae Davidson.

Furman has made five post-season tournament appearances with Curtis on staff, including two trips to the WNIT, and also played in a pair of SoCon Tournament championship games.

A 2010 graduate of James Madison University where he starred as a player for the Dukes, Curtis coached women’s basketball at Harrisonburg (Va.) High School for two seasons prior to coming to Furman, helping direct his squad to a pair of region playoff appearances.

He played professionally in Germany during the 2010-11 season before beginning his coaching career. He also racked up extensive summer camp experience with numerous colleges and worked with the prestigious Boo Williams AAU organization.

A Chicago, Ill., native who spent many of his teenage years in Denver, Colo., he was a two-year starter at Denver East High School, where he keyed his squad to a state championship and No. 12 national ranking his junior year. 

He earned all-state and Denver Player of the Year honors as a senior before enrolling at Charis Prep School in Goldsboro, N.C., where he averaged 22.0  points and 8.0 rebounds while pacing his squad to a No. 14 national ranking.

Curtis signed with James Madison and went on to register 1,237 points and complete his career as the Dukes’ all-time leader in starts, assists, and steals.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in sports management from JMU.

Carson, meanwhile, will serve as a member of the ACC’s leadership team, and be responsible for planning, implementing, and executing the overall management of the league’s women’s basketball operation. 

She will serve as the primary liaison to the ACC women’s basketball head coaches and committee members and will oversee the league’s women’s basketball supervisor of officials.

Carson’s responsibilities also will consist of the management and oversight of the annual Ally ACC Women’s Basketball Tournament, regular-season conference scheduling, liaison work with the conference’s television partners and to the national basketball organizations including, but not limited to, the NCAA, WBCA, USA Basketball and Play4Kay.
A former Furman women’s basketball student-athlete, she earned her bachelor’s degree in health and exercise science/pre-medicine. She is the first person in the Southern Conference basketball history – men’s or women’s – to be named both conference coach of the year and conference player of the year. 

She is a member of the Furman University Hall of Fame, and her jersey has been retired. In addition, she was named to the Southern Conference 100th Anniversary Women’s Basketball Team.
Prior to her coaching tenure at Furman, Carson was an associate head coach at James Madison University, Bucknell University and with the Fairfax Stars Nike EYBL AAU Program that won the 2002 AAU National Championship.

Carson is one of two coaches on the NCAA Women’s Basketball Oversight Committee (WBOC) and as a member of the WBCA Board of Directors. 

As part of her work on the Oversight Committee, Carson is a liaison to the NCAA women’s basketball student-athlete engagement group, administrative subcommittee, and legislation subcommittee. 

Previously, she served on the NCAA Recruiting Calendar Subcommittee focused on women’s basketball and the NCAA Women’s Basketball Transfer Review Advisory Group.

Carson’s national leadership also includes her serving as an executive committee member and past president of the Women of Color Coaches Network and on the advisory board of BREAKTHRU Brands, which is an organization that empowers women to lead the way through personal branding strategies.

She will begin her tenure with the ACC on July 5.

“ACC Women’s Basketball continues to set new standards of excellence and we are thrilled to have Jackie join the conference office in this prominent role,” said ACC Commissioner Jim Phillips, Ph.D. “Our conference has been unwavering in its dedication to women’s basketball, and we look forward to Jackie’s leadership as we work collectively with our schools to enhance our priorities for the benefit of our student-athletes and programs.”

“This is an incredible opportunity and I look forward to working with our schools, coaches and partners on all things ACC Women’s Basketball,” Carson said.