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Jack Camp "Cactus Jack" Curtice Jr. (May 24, 1907 – August 19, 1982) was an American football coach and college athletics administrator. Curtice served as the head football coach West Texas State (1940–1941), Texas Western (1946–1949), Utah (1950–1957), Stanford (1958–1962), and UC Santa Barbara (1962–1969). His teams were known for their passing offenses. His overall record was 135–115–8.

Jack Curtice
Biographical details
Born(1907-05-24)May 24, 1907
Glasgow, Kentucky
DiedAugust 19, 1982(1982-08-19) (aged 75)
Santa Barbara, California
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1932–1937Owensboro HS (KY)
1938–1939West Texas State (assistant)
1940–1941West Texas State
1946–1949Texas Mines / Texas Western
1962–1969UC Santa Barbara
Administrative career (AD unless noted)
1942–1950Texas Western
1965–1973UC Santa Barbara
Head coaching record
Overall135–115–8 (college)
32–22–2 (high school)
Accomplishments and honors
4 Skyline (1951–1953, 1957)
Amos Alonzo Stagg Award (1972)


Early yearsEdit

Curtice was born in Glasgow, Kentucky, in 1907. He attended Louisville Male High School where he played football, basketball, and baseball, and ran hurdles for the track team. He next attended Transylvania University where he again played football, basketball, and baseball. He was the quarterback on the Transylvania football team for four years. He won all-Kentucky honors in both football and basketball.[1][2]

In 1930, Curtice began his coaching career as the basketball and football coach at Elizabethtown High School in Elizabethtown, Kentucky. In two years as the football coach at Elizabethtown, his teams won 14 of 18 games and outscored opponents, 542 to 88. His basketball teams won 47 of 53 games.[1]

In May 1932, Curtice was hired as the athletics coach and history teacher at Owensboro High School in Owensboro, Kentucky.[1] He was a coach there from until he was granted a release from his contract in May 1938.[2]

College coaching careerEdit

West Texas StateEdit

In 1938, Curtice was hired at West Texas State in Canyon, Texas, as a professor of physical education and freshman coach in all sports.[3] He became an assistant coach for the varsity football team in 1939 and was appointed head coach in December 1939.[4] As head coach at West Texas State, Curtice's 1940 team compiled a 7–3 record and won the Alamo Conference championship. His 1941 squad finished in third place in its first season in the Border Conference and compiled an 8–2 record.

Texas Western and NavyEdit

In January 1942, Curtice was hired as the athletic director and head football coach at the Texas School of Mines (later renamed University of Texas at El Paso).[5] However, he entered the United States Navy before the season began and was unable to begin his coaching duties until after World War II ended.[6]

During the war, Curtice served at Naval Station Norfolk where he coached a basketball team. He was also assigned to duty in the Aleutian Islands and with the Saint Mary's Pre-Flight School.[7]

Curtice returned to Texas Mines in October 1945, but the school did not field a football team that year.[7] He served as the school's head coach for four years from 1946 to 1949, compiling an overall record of 24–13–3. His 1948 and 1949 squads compiled identical 8–2–1 records and appeared in back-to-back Sun Bowls.


In June 1950, Curtice was hired to replace Ike Armstrong as the head football coach at Utah.[8] In eight years as the head coach at Utah, Curtice's teams won four Skyline Conference championships and compiled a 45–32–4 record (32–9–2 against Skyline opponents).


In January 1958, Curtice was hired as the head football coach at Stanford.[9] Curtice coached at Stanford for five seasons. His teams did not have a winning record in any of those years. His overall record at Stanford was 14–36 (5–19 against conference opponents). He was fired in November 1962.[10]

UC Santa BarbaraEdit

In February 1963, Curtice was hired as the head football coach at UC Santa Barbara.[11] His 1965 UC Santa Barbara Gauchos football team compiled an 8–1 record in the regular season, and Curtice received the NCAA College Division Coach of the Year award.[12] In seven seasons at Santa Barbara, his teams compiled a 37–29–1 record.

Curtice retired from coaching in January 1970. In a coaching career that spanned 40 years, he developed a reputation as an innovator and advocate of the passing game. His 1957 Utah Utes football team led the country in passing,[13] and during decade from 1950 to 1960, he coached seven quarterbacks, including Lee Grosscup and Dick Norman, who ranked in the top 10 in passing. He also wrote a book titled "The Passing Game".[14]

Later yearsEdit

Curtice remained as athletic director at UC Santa Barbara until his retirement in January 1973.[12]

He died at his home in Santa Barbara, California, on August 19, 1982.[15][16][13]

Head coaching recordEdit


Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs
West Texas State Buffaloes (Alamo Conference) (1940–1941)
1940 West Texas State 7–3 2–0 1st
West Texas State Buffaloes (Border Conference) (1941)
1941 West Texas State 8–2 4–1 3rd
West Texas State: 15–5
Texas Mines / Texas Western Miners (Border Conference) (1946–1949)
1946 Texas Mines 3–6 2–4 7th
1947 Texas Mines 5–3–1 3–3–1 5th
1948 Texas Mines 8–2–1 4–1–1 2nd L Sun
1949 Texas Western 8–2–1 4–2 T–3rd W Sun
Texas Western: 24–13–3 13–10–2
Utah Utes (Skyline Conference) (1950–1957)
1950 Utah 3–4–3 1–2–2 4th
1951 Utah 7–4 4–1 1st
1952 Utah 6–3–1 5–0 1st
1953 Utah 8–2 5–0 1st
1954 Utah 4–7 3–3 T–4th
1955 Utah 6–3 4–1 2nd
1956 Utah 5–5 5–1 2nd
1957 Utah 6–4 5–1 1st
Utah: 45–32–4 32–9–2
Stanford Indians (Pacific Coast Conference) (1958)
1958 Stanford 2–8 2–5 7th
Stanford Indians (Athletic Association of Western Universities) (1959–1962)
1959 Stanford 3–7 0–4 5th
1960 Stanford 0–10 0–4 5th
1961 Stanford 4–6 1–3 T–4th
1962 Stanford 5–5 2–3 4th
Stanford: 14–36 5–19
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos (NCAA College Division independent) (1963–1968)
1963 UC Santa Barbara 4–5
1964 UC Santa Barbara 4–7
1965 UC Santa Barbara 8–2 L Camellia
1966 UC Santa Barbara 6–4
1967 UC Santa Barbara 5–5
1968 UC Santa Barbara 4–4–1
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos (Pacific Coast Athletic Association) (1969)
1969 UC Santa Barbara 6–4 1–3 T–5th
UC Santa Barbara: 37–29–1 1–3
Total: 135–115–8
      National championship         Conference title         Conference division title or championship game berth


  1. ^ a b c "Jack Curtice Elected Demons Coach". The Inquirer (Owensboro, KY). May 20, 1932. p. 8 – via
  2. ^ a b "Jack Curtice Gets College Grid Job". The Inquirer (Owensboro, KY). July 22, 1938. p. 9 – via
  3. ^ "New Mentor Is In Columbia University". The Canyon News. August 18, 1938. p. 3 – via
  4. ^ "Curtice Made Football Coach in New Plan". The Canyon News. December 7, 1939. p. 7 – via
  5. ^ "Curtice, New College of Mines Coach, Looks For Football Assistant". El Paso Herald-Post. January 9, 1942. p. 16 – via
  6. ^ "Milner Succeeds Curtice For Duration As Mines Coach". El Paso Times. June 11, 1942. p. 10 – via
  7. ^ a b "TCM Sports Look Brighter; Curtice Is Back". El Paso Times. October 16, 1945. p. 10 – via
  8. ^ "Texas Western Mentor Takes Utah Helm". The Salt Lake Tribune. June 11, 1950 – via
  9. ^ "Stanford Gives Curtice 5 Year Contract". San Francisco Examiner. January 17, 1958. p. II-7, II-9 – via
  10. ^ "It's Official! Stanford Gives Curtice The Axe". Humboldt Standard. November 27, 1962. p. 13 – via
  11. ^ "Curtice Grid Coach At Santa Barbara". San Francisco Examiner. February 3, 1963 – via
  12. ^ a b "Curtice Retires As UCSB Athletic Director". Santa Maria Times. January 9, 1973. p. 9 – via
  13. ^ a b "Ex-Card coach Curtice dies -- 'College football's Will Rogers'". San Francisco Examiner. August 20, 1982. p. F7 – via
  14. ^ "Curtice Ends Long Coaching Career". The San Bernardino County Sun. January 9, 1970 – via
  15. ^ "Ex-UTEP football coach passes away". El Paso Times. August 20, 1982. p. 9 – via
  16. ^ "'Cactus' Jack left his imprint on local, national sports scene". Messenger-Inquirer (Owensboro, KY). August 26, 1982. p. 13 – via

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