Currier heads county's group of class acts Ex-Glen Burnie standout, four others to be inducted into Hall of Fame Oct. 22

September 30, 1998|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,SUN STAFF

Glen Burnie High School's Bill Currier, who played nine years in the National Football League, heads the eighth class of the Anne Arundel County Sports Hall of Fame.

Five will be honored on Oct. 22 at Michael's Eighth Avenue in Glen Burnie. The banquet is open to the public.

Currier will be joined by fast-pitch softball guru Jack Crandell, track and field athlete/coach Ralph Spry, U.S. Naval Academy player, coach and administrator Dave Smalley and former national champion tennis player Warren Drake.

The five bring the total enshrined since 1991 to 40, with Spry and Drake the first in their respective fields.

Currier, one of only two Glen Burnie players to win the coveted Annapolis Touchdown Club Rhodes Trophy as Anne Arundel County's top player (1972), was a two-way back in high school under coach Joe Papetti.

A safety at the University of South Carolina, Currier made 108 tackles, had two interceptions and caused six fumbles for the Gamecocks in his senior season.

Drafted on the ninth round by the Houston Oilers in 1977, Currier was named to the NFL all-rookie team.

Three years later, Currier was traded to the New England Patriots and to the New York Giants the following season. He was a starting safety for the Giants for five seasons.

In the 1984 NFC wild-card playoff game, Currier made 14 tackles and gobbled up a crucial fumble in the Giants' 16-13 win over the Los Angeles Rams. He played in 115 career games and had 12 interceptions.

Now the athletic director and head football coach at Lippen High in Columbia, S.C., Currier was inducted into the Maryland State Athletic Hall of Fame last spring.

Few amateur coaches and instructors have done as much for women athletics as Crandell, who is the reason Anne Arundel County has become a hotbed for fast-pitch softball in Maryland.

In the last 20 years, over 100 girls have earned partial or full scholarships thanks to Crandell, who has been the ace of several Baltimore men's teams since 1962 and is still pitching at age 55.

He and Tom Conley started the St. Rose of Lima CYO Tangerine Machine for 18-and-under girls in the 1970s. The team qualified for three Amateur Softball Association national tournaments and before long parents and youth coaches soon flocked to Crandell to do clinics.

A lifelong Brooklyn Park resident, Crandell founded the Anne Arundel County Windmill Pitching Clinic in 1982, receiving no fees for his expert tutoring. His out-of-season clinics are still going strong, developing scores of players all over the state.

Crandell also lectures college teams around the nation and has been an assistant coach at Anne Arundel Community College and UMBC.

A 25-year member of the Anne Arundel Board of Officials, Crandell often gets to see the results of his instruction firsthand in the spring when he umpires local high school softball games. He also officiates field hockey and basketball.

Spry, a former assistant at South Carolina and Florida, became the track and field coach at Auburn last year after a brilliant career at the University of Mississippi, AACC and Old Mill.

A two-time state champion and record holder in the triple jump in 1978, Spry was a national junior college champion in the long and triple jumps both years at AACC.

At Mississippi, Spry became an NCAA long jump champion and two-time All-American and later a member of six U.S. national teams, competed in the Olympic trials twice and was a Military World Champion in the long jump in 1986.

Smalley was a standout basketball/baseball player at Navy, earning the prestigious Silver Sword in 1957 as the top senior athlete and later coached the Mids' men's and women's basketball teams.

A two-year team captain, Smalley had a string of 27 straight double-figure games as the team's leading scorer in two seasons and finished with 856 career points.

After four years as an assistant to Ben Carnevale, Navy's winningest men's basketball coach (257-160 in 20 seasons), Smalley succeeded the latter and had a career record of 94-130 from 1966-76. The following year he started the womens' program and was 179-119 in 12 seasons.

As an outfielder under Max Bishop, for whom Navy's baseball stadium is named, Smalley led the Eastern Intercollegiate League in batting (.419) as a junior.

A permanent fixture in Annapolis since his days as a plebe, Smalley has served as an Assistant Athletic Director for Admissions and Academics at the academy since 1979.

Winning six matches in a 64-player draw, Glen Burnie's Drake won the U.S. Tennis Association's Men's Grass Court National Singles title for 55-year-olds in 1977 and a year later teamed up with William Shivar to win the USTA Clay Court Senior Doubles.

Drake won five age-group national titles, four in the U.S. and one in Canada. Along the way, he defeated such notables as Bobby Riggs and Pancho Segura. He also founded the Anne Arundel jTC County Tennis Association.

For ticket information call 410-768-7901.

Pub Date: 9/30/98

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