Note of Sadness: Charlene Curtis


Fellow Highlanders:

It is with great sadness that I share the news that Board of Visitors member Charlene A. Curtis passed away this morning. Charlene truly loved Radford University and made a positive impact on the university and our students. As a trailblazer, she also made her mark in the broader collegiate athletics landscape.

As a student, Charlene was the first 1,000-point scorer – male or female – in Radford basketball history. After her playing career ended, she secured her first job as a teacher and band director in Bedford County, Virginia. Her coaching career took her back to the collegiate ranks where she earned a graduate degree and worked on the staff of legendary head coach Debbie Ryan at the University of Virginia.

Charlene would eventually return to Radford as the women’s basketball program's head coach from 1984-90. She was a two-time Big South Coach of the Year, leading the Highlanders to four Big South regular season championships, three Tournament championships and an appearance in the 1989 WNIT.

From there, she became head basketball coach at Wake Forest University, head coach at Temple University and assistant coach under Geno Auriemma at the University of Connecticut. Later, she was named the head of ACC women's basketball officiating and contributed to ESPNU and Fox Sports South as a women's basketball analyst.

Her accomplishments, both on the sidelines and in the community, led to the dedication of the Radford women’s basketball coach’s suite in her name on Feb. 5, 2022. A special ceremony was held in the Dedmon Center Sports Performance Facility, where Charlene spoke surrounded by former players and staff members.

Having received a Bachelor of Science in Music degree from Radford University in 1976, Charlene served on the Board of Visitors from 1978 to 1980 and was then reappointed by Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam in 2021.

Charlene’s arrangements are pending. In the meantime, please join me in celebrating a life well lived.

Bret Danilowicz, Ph.D.

Aug 18, 2022