He studied them religiously as an All-American linebacker at Wake Forest and during his four-year NFL career.

Now in his third season as an assistant coach for the Seattle Seahawks, Curry helps prepare game plans as the 2022 NFL season approaches.

When he was asked to join the Center for Sports Leadership at VCU as an adjunct professor to teach an online summer course, “Fundamentals of Coaching,” Curry went to work on a different kind of game plan.

“I took the time to create my lessons ahead of time,” he said. “I was actually able to do four weeks ahead. At the beginning of the week, I reviewed and rehearsed each presentation. I want to make sure that every class is informative and impactful.”

“From our first meeting around the classroom, Aaron was laser-focused on impacting students,” said Brendan Dwyer, Ph.D., director of distance learning for the Center for Sports Leadership. “He wanted their experience to be not only educational but also fundamental professional growth and development.”

A nine-person zoom call screen
Facing a computer screen with eight eager graduate students staring back at you may not be as intimidating as standing on the line of scrimmage seconds before the ball snaps, but the pressure is real. Aaron Curry handled it like a pro. (VCU Center for Sports Leadership)

Facing a computer screen with eight eager graduate students staring back at you may not be as intimidating as standing on the line of scrimmage seconds before the ball snaps, but the pressure is real. Curry handled it like a pro.

“I enjoyed the class with Coach Curry,” said Karen Shaddock, graduate student and head women’s lacrosse coach at Stevens Institute of Technology. “It was really cool to learn that they’re doing the same player development at the professional level as we are at the college level and others. [are] at the high school level. It’s refreshing to know that no matter what level you’re at, coaching still depends on the relationships you have with your players. I felt that Coach Curry also had that relationship with his students and we were all able to grow together this semester.

“I really appreciated Coach’s knowledge and openness to share his personal experiences in the classroom,” said Emmanuel Mathis, graduate student and Atlanta elementary school principal and coach. “Being a coach at the highest level added a level of acceptance because of how public his position is.”

For Curry, teaching and coaching are similar, if not identical. It is about progress and development.

“I really enjoyed seeing the students get excited about sharing their training philosophies,” he said. “The best classes were those in which students were asked to engage with each other.”

Curry had a good idea of ​​what would resonate with distance learning students because he was one of them. Curry graduated from CSL’s online program in 2019, earning his M.Ed. in Sports Leadership. He learned about VCU’s program while interning at UNC Charlotte in 2015. Soon after, he met Carrie LeCrom, Ph.D., executive director of CSL, who encouraged him to enroll.

“Aaron was not good at teaching for us,” LeCrom said. “We knew how much he valued education from his time in our program and from following his career. It is very clear that he not only believes in excellence on the field, but more importantly, in developing the players as people. This transformative approach to training is exactly what we need in this course, and it certainly delivered.”

Former NFL player and current Seattle Seahawks assistant coach Aaron Curry is an adjunct professor for the Center for Sports Leadership. This summer, he taught Foundations of Coaching, an online course in CSL’s distance learning program.

CSL’s distance learning program is a synchronous online curriculum designed for full-time sports professionals to earn their evening master’s degree in approximately 24 months. “The distance learning program is outstanding. It provides students and professors with flexibility and convenience,” said Curry, who is a proud graduate, frequently tweeting about the program to his more than 27,000 followers. “CSL is such an impactful program that empowers and equips students with a practical ability to enter the world of sport.”

Just as he seeks development from the Seahawk players he coaches, Curry is looking for areas he can improve as a professor.

“I want to be more creative in encouraging student engagement.”

Once the NFL season ends, Curry will return to his teaching game plan and build on the success of this summer’s course, developing new strategies that will lead to student success.