Terrence Curry is ready to be the ringmaster.
Good thing, he just took over a circus.
Trinity announced Wednesday it hired Curry as its next football coach. He takes the position that was left vacant when Cory Patterson resigned to accept an assistant coaching job with the University of Illinois football program.
Curry, 36, graduated from Kirkwood High in 1999 and played cornerback for four years at the University of Missouri. He spent the last two years as Patterson's assistant at Trinity.
“It's exciting,” Curry said. “It's a great opportunity to do great things.”
The No. 2 small school team in the fall's final STLhighschoolsports.com rankings, Trinity went 9-1. It lost 48-46 at Lutheran North in the Class 2 District 2 championship game. The year prior, the Titans were the Class 2 runner-up.
The vast majority of Trinity's roster was underclassmen this season. The junior class alone has more than 100 Division I scholarship offers, with more coming every day.
Quarterback Isaiah Williams, wide receiver Marcus Washington, linebacker Shammond Cooper and offensive tackle Ira Henry are four of the nation's most heralded prospects in the class of 2019. Williams, Washington and Cooper already have accepted invitations to play in the Under Armour All-American game next year. Junior cornerback Bryce Childress and sophomore athlete Mookie Cooper also are racking up the college offers.
The parade of college coaches and the stress of choosing the right school can overwhelm a teenager. Curry said his own experience can be useful as he relates to his players. Curry was the Post-Dispatch All-Metro defensive player of the year at Kirkwood in 1998.
“I was one of the top (defensive backs) in the nation,” Curry said. “I kind of know what it is they're going through.”
Trinity's expectations for next season are very high.
With so much talent and success the last two seasons, it's bordering on state championship or bust for the Titans. Curry is going to do his best to get them there, one day at a time.
“Everybody goes into the offseason thinking of winning a championship,” he said. “We're going to get better on the field and in the classroom. We have a tough schedule with tough opponents.”
Trinity banked on this year's junior class making a leap next season and assembled a schedule that reflects it. The Titans open the season at Georgia powerhouse Colquitt County, play in the featured game against East St. Louis at the Gateway Scholars Classic and face Elder High School in Cincinnati.
This will be Curry's first time as a head coach and it'll be just his third season as a varsity coach. He cited his time working with the Damien Nash Foundation as experience for helping young people reach their goals.
“I've always had that coach in me,” Curry said.
He said he'll lean on Trinity assistant Bill Cooper and still has a good relationship with Mizzou coach Barry Odom, with whom he played during his time as a Tiger. Former Kirkwood coach Mike Wade is another resource Curry can use as well.
His biggest influence, though, is Gary Pinkel. Curry's senior year of 2003 was Pinkel's third season with the program and his first winning season. Curry saw from the inside how to change the culture of a program.
“A lot of my philosophy I learned from Coach Pinkel,” he said.
Curry won't have to do that at Trinity. The winning culture has been established. Truth be told, Curry didn't think he would be Trinity's coach. But with the encouragement of the players' parents, he applied for the job.
“I threw my name into the arena and it happened,” Curry said.
HOWELL'S SNYDER RESIGNS FOR AD JOB AT WESTMINSTER
After two years Cory Snyder has left Francis Howell's football program.
Snyder was hired to be the new athletics director at Westminster. Before taking over for Bryan Koch at Howell prior to the 2016 season, Snyder spent 15 years at Westminster, five as its head football coach.
In his two seasons, Howell went 15-7.
Howell will move swiftly to fill the top spot in its football program. The Francis Howell School Board will have to approve of its next football coach. The board is scheduled to meet April 5 and April 19.