Curby named executive director of Beat the Streets Chicago

By Reilly Reese | July 24, 2013, 10:32 a.m. (ET)
Dr. David Curby has been named as the executive director of Beat the Streets - Chicago. The goal of Beat the Streets - Chicago is to develop the Urban wrestling community into a self-sustaining entity that is based on the core values of wrestling; hard work, dedication, discipline and determination.

"I am excited and awed by this tremendous opportunity to build on the history of Chicago wrestling, and am totally committed to a strong, steady and dependable effort through the next two quadrennials! Yes, my strategic plan is based on the accountable administration of a program for the unswerving and consistent growth of wrestling on all fronts-from cradle to grave. There are almost 650,000 young people under the age of 18 in Chicago. Many of our communities are underserved with youth wrestling opportunities. We will be working to grow and support wrestling programs in all neighborhoods. We first and foremost are dedicated to serving these kids, giving them more options."

The concept for establishing a wrestling program for inner city youths was launched in Chicago in 1997 with a partnership between the Midlands Youth Foundation and the Chicago Park District. In 1999 the program was reinvigorated through an alliance with the YMCA net-work and branded as "Beat the Streets" Youth Wrestling Program.

Curby has a long involvement in all aspects of wrestling. As a competitor, he was a Junior National Champion, Big 10 Champion and Captain at the University of Michigan, Junior World team member and National Open Runner-up. A teacher, coach and administrator at Lyons Township HS in La Grange, and then Niles North HS, in Skokie, Curby received his doctorate in educational psychology from Northern Illinois University. He is a USA Wrestling Gold-level coach and a member of the IWCOA Hall of Fame. Curby is director of the International Network of Wrestling Researchers and editor of their official publication, the International Journal of Wrestling Science. For the past four years he has coordinated the Jacob Curby Cup, America's premier Greco Roman competition in memory of his son. In February he was named to the FILA Scientific Commission.

Chicago has a proud history in wrestling and has produced numerous Olympians. One of the most famous is Jack Riley, who also wrestled at Northwestern and was the national champion in 1931 and 1932. He then won a silver medal in wrestling at the 1932 Summer Olympics. Others include Werner Holzer (Mexico City), Mike Foy (Seoul & Barcelona), Derrick Waldroup (Atlanta), Kevin Bracken (Sydney), Ellis Coleman-the Flying Squirrel (London) and its greatest Olympian Terry McCann, who was Olympic Champion in 1960 in Tokyo.

Curby remembers Holzer and McCann, ''when I was competing in the 70's they had the Mayor Daley Youth Foundation as one of the top wrestling clubs in the country. It is my intent to help lead a resurrection of such opportunities. We have some tremendous resources. We have Northwestern, a Division 1 wrestling power, the fine Division 3 program at the University of Chicago, as well as the City College teams at Wright and Kennedy-King. The state of Illinois is a wrestling powerhouse, just witness the success of our schoolboy, cadet and junior teams at the national level. Jim Considine, executive director of the Illinois Kids Wrestling Federation (and also a Beat the Streets -Chicago board member) has led this success. World Sport Chicago supports wrestling and there are approximately 80 high school teams! A foundation for an explosion in wrestling is already in place."

Curby identified several initiatives that are part of his strategic plan.

1) Establish the needed contacts with wrestling supporters and benefactors for our youth programs.
2) Complete the campaign goal set in 2011 to deliver 60 elementary wrestling programs by 2016 in coordination with the Chicago Public School League as a feeder program to the existing Chicago Public High Schools.
3) Continue and expand the student mentoring and summer camp programs held at Northwestern.
4) Establish more year-round training sites around the city, including a Regional Olympic Training Center. This includes sites for women's training.
5) Reach out to former wrestlers and involve them in USA Wrestling coach's education program.
6) The formation of new, and development of current IKWF clubs in Chicago.
7) Facilitate and coordinate more high-level competition and events.