Curran Comes Home
Former Chelmsford High School football star Dan Curran has returned home after a playing career that spanned nearly a decade.
Dan Curran's playing career may be over but football will always be a major part of his life. The former Chelmsford High School star running back is back in the area in his first season an assistant football coach at Division 2 Merrimack College in North Andover.
North Andover is just up I-495 from Chelmsford where Curran broke records and won a high school Super Bowl with the Lions. It is also just south of Durham, N.H., where Curran starred for the University of New Hampshire Wildcats from 1995-2000.
In 1994, Curran led the Lions to a Division 2A Super Bowl with a 29-0 win over Brookline. Chelmsford football was always an important part of the Curran Family's lives.
"Chelmsford obviously has a great football tradition and as long as I could remember I wanted to be a part of that," recalled Curran. "I remember going with my older brother Sean (who was a captain at Chelmsford and played at Villanova) to the weight room to hang out with the players and I never missed any of the games on Friday night."
"Growing up my class was always pretty good from Pop Warner all the way through high school. To cap that off by winning a Super Bowl with those guys my senior year was pretty special," Curran said. "To this day those same guys are some of my closest friends."
As a USA Today All-American coming out of Chelmsford, Curran received interest from dozens of major football programs. Many of those programs wanted to shift him to the defensive side of the ball but Curran wanted to continue his football career as a running back. Curran would choose the University of New Hampshire as they had a great tradition of developing running backs and were recently coming off of a 10-1 season. The close proximity to home was also a draw for Curran, who liked the idea of playing in front of friends and family.
"Danny Curran was an outstanding running back here at UNH," said current University of New Hampshire Head Coach Sean McDonnell. "His toughness and work ethic is what UNH is all about. During his senior year he rushed for more than 1,000 yards, and there are only 8 other guys in UNH Football history to do that. I have never been surprised by anything he has done on or off the field. His ability and work ethic go hand and hand in making him a great success."
Football has taken Curran around the country since graduating from the University of New Hampshire in 2000. He starred in the Arena Football League as an All-Pro for the New Orleans Voodoo in 2004 and also spent time with Nashville and Georgia of the AFL.
Curran recalls his time in New Orleans as the best of his football career.
"My time spent in New Orleans was probably the fondest memories I have playing football," said Curran. "The fan base for the Saints as well as the Voodoo was phenomenal. My wife and I were expecting our first child, we won our division (which was a first for an expansion team), I was able to win 1st Team All AFL honors as well as being named to the All Ironman Team after leading the league in rushing and becoming just the 3rd player in league history to rush for over 20TD's in a season."
"That city treated me and my family unbelievably during my time there so to see New Orleans slowly build itself back as well as seeing the Saints win the Super Bowl last year couldn't have made me happier," said Curran. "That team means a lot to the city and although it won't solve all of the issues they are facing post Hurricane Katrina it's small gift the people of New Orleans deserve."
A neck injury in 2009 during his time with the Seahawks would eventually mean the end of Curran's playing career but the Chelmsford resident wanted to stay involved in the game that he loves.
"When I realized my playing career was over I began to explore other options in college and pro football," said Curran. "I had some great opportunities presented to me including some coaching offers from some Division 1 schools in the northeast area, one on the west coast, as well as a paid internship as a scout for an NFL front office."
Curran is currently the offensive line coach at Merrimack as well as the recruiting coordinator and academic liaison to the players. Curran chose an opportunity to come back home in large part for the opportunity presented to him by Merrimack Head Coach John Perry. Perry was an assistant coach at the University of New Hampshire during Curran's time at the school. Perry was also influential in developing the UNH offense that has consistently been one of the top offenses in the northeast for the past ten 10 to 15 years.
"The fact that Coach Perry had enough confidence in me to bring me on board this early in my coaching career for a crucial position like this one means a lot to me," said Curran. "I owe him a great deal."
The Curran family is settled in Chelmsford for now in a home that they purchased in 2005. With two young boys, the oldest attending Kindergarten now at the South Row School, Curran likes the idea of being settled.
"My wife and I are happy to be settling back in Chelmsford full time," concluded Curran.
With Chelmsford football continuing to excel on the field, Curran is an example to the players of today and tomorrow that hard work and perseverance can lead to future success in a game so important to Chelmsford.