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John Currie

Lecturer; Athletics Director, Wake Forest University

Wake Forest University Athletics Director John Currie is a veteran college athletics leader with 28 years of experience in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), Big 12, and Southeastern Conference (SEC). He teaches a graduate-level course in the discipline of Intercollegiate Athletics Administration.

On March 4, 2019, Currie was introduced by Wake Forest as the 6th AD in Demon Deacon history. He previously served as Director of Athletics at Kansas State University from 2009-2017, and later as AD at the University of Tennessee. Currie was recognized in 2013 as both an UnderArmour Athletic Director of the Year and as the recipient of the Bobby Dodd Athletic Director Award. He was a Sports Business Journal Forty Under 40 winner in 2011, served on the NCAA Division I Administrative Cabinet from 2010–2015 and is a Life Member of the Fiesta Bowl Board of Directors. He is a 1993 Wake Forest graduate and holds a master’s degree from Tennessee.

Currie’s vision of a Model Intercollegiate Athletics Program includes the core goals of:

  1.  A World Class Student-Athlete Experience
  2. Integrity in Academics, Compliance, Finance, Inclusion and Safety
  3. Value to the University, Winston-Salem and Triad Communities
  4.  Win Championships
  5. The Best Fan Experience in North Carolina

These goals guide all athletics decisions and have proven to be the right foundation for facing an unprecedented combination of challenges including the global pandemic. By focusing on the three principles of 1.) Being as safe as possible 2.) Providing student-athletes opportunities for competition and 3.) Sustaining the enterprise, Currie’s leadership team returned Wake Forest to competition, even hosting ESPN College Gameday for the first time in school history to kick-off the 2020 season. Disciplined financial decisions helped the Deacons conclude the FY20 year $500,000 better than budget and creative innovations in communication helped build stronger connections throughout Deacon Nation.

Recent successes include Wake Forest capturing its eighth Big Four football title in 2019 as the Demon Deacons now hold a 30-20 record this century against their Tobacco Road rivals North Carolina, NC State and Duke. The 2019 Pinstripe Bowl and 2020 Duke’s Mayo Bowl extended the Deacs’ bowl appearance streak to a program record five years, good for third longest active ACC stretch. Men’s soccer advanced to its sixth College Cup in 2019 and women’s golf was ranked No. 1 in the country in March 2020 before the COVID-19 pandemic ended the season. Highlights of 2021 include two individual ACC indoor track titles.

Wake Forest Athletics has faced the challenges created by social injustice and anti-black violence head-on. The Demon Deacon Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) voter registration drive resulted in 99% of Wake Forest student-athlete participation. Strong statements for social justice and racial reconciliation in social media and other outlets, and intentional dialogue and engagement throughout the department has created a path for better understanding among coaches, staff and student-athletes alike.

The 2020-2021 academic year marks Currie’s 11th as a Power-5 athletics director. During his 2009-2017 run at Kansas State, Currie turned a program with an inherited deficit into one of the NCAA’s most financially solvent, achieving a cash surplus every year of his tenure.He initiated and completed built $210 million in new state-of-the-art facilities, benefiting all 16 Wildcat sports without any state tax, university tuition or fee dollars. In 2016, Kansas State’s Bill Snyder Family Stadium was a finalist for the Sports Business Journal Facility of the Year. During his K-State tenure, the Wildcats won Big 12 championships in football, men’s basketball and baseball, appeared in seven consecutive bowl games, had 17 teams earn NCAA berths, and won 11 individual NCAA titles. All Wildcat programs delivered academically, with five teams - including football - posting the Big 12’s highest Academic Performance Rating (APR) mark in 2016-2017.

Currie’s career fundraising accomplishments include record private gifts of $50 million at Tennessee in 2008 and $60 million at K-State in 2014.

He and his wife of 22 years, Mary Lawrence, are the proud parents of three children, Jack, Gigi and Mary-Dell, and a King Charles Cavalier named Charlie.

Education

  • M.S., University of Tennessee
  • B.A., Wake Forest University

Courses

  • Summer 2020: Intercollegiate Athletics Administration