UH coach suffers heart attack, out indefinitely
UH women’s basketball head coach Joe Curl will be out indefinitely after suffering a mild heart attack Sunday.
Assistant coach and recruiting coordinator Danny Hughes will serve as the interim head coach.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with him," Hughes said. "At this time we’re looking forward to his speedy recovery and will continue like he was there with us."
Curl, 53, admitted himself to St. John’s Hospital complaining of chest pains after returning from a recruiting trip.
He was then transferred to Methodist Hospital where he is expected to undergo single-bypass surgery next week.
Curl was in high spirits Tuesday in his ICU room as his thoughts were on his team, Hughes said.
"He’s doing fine, resting comfortably. At this time rest is probably the best thing for him," said Hughes, who has visited Curl every day since he was admitted. "He just wanted to know how we did last night in our scrimmage."
Curl and Hughes have known each other for 17 years. They met in 1991 when both were coaching at Trinity Valley Community College in Athens, Texas.
Curl was coaching the women’s team while Hughes worked on the men’s.
When Curl first came on as head coach in the 1997-98 season the team was struggling, finishing at .500 or below for six consecutive years.
Curl successfully turned the team around in two seasons and had the UH team in the postseason for the first time in almost 10 years.
In his 10 seasons as head coach, Curl has coached in 268 games, which puts him at second for the all-time record behind Dot Woodfin at 279.
Curl has also recorded 278 career wins in his 17 years of coaching, ranking him fourth in wins among active Conference USA coaches.
In 2004 following a record-setting 28-4 season, Curl was named National Coach of the Year by the Associated Press and C-USA.
The Cougars, busy preparing for the start of the season, were taken by surprise when they heard the news.
"When coach Hughes broke the news to us, there was total silence in the locker room," senior guard Tye Jackson told the Houston Chronicle on Tuesday. "We were shocked. Nobody knew what to say, and some of the players were crying. But coach Curl would want us to focus on basketball and do well, so that’s what we’re going to do."
Hughes said that Curl has always stressed that the game is not about him; rather it is about the players and what they do on and off the court.
The Cougars, and their coaching staff are ready to open their season against Texas Southern on Nov. 9.
"We’ve got great leadership… we look forward to the challenges we have ahead of us," Hughes said. "This is just a bump in the road. We’ll take each game just as he would if he was here."