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Curtice has been at the University of Utah since 1950, when he quit as head coach at Texas Western after two successive Sun Bowls.
"I figured there wasn't much left for me to accomplish there," he said. "I liked this country and I liked Ike Armstrong, who was the athletic director here when I was hired. When he called me the first time, I told him I didn't think I wanted the job. Then I got to thinkin' about it and I decided it was a pretty good challenge and I called him the next day and said I would take it."
Curtice installed the wide-open, hell-for-leather offense which has been his trademark since he started coaching 27 years ago in Kentucky.
"We operate on the theory of always threatening a pass with the possibility of a run," he said the other day on the Utah practice field. "Most split-T teams threaten to run with the possibility of a pass. Football that way's not much fun."
He walked back out to his players. They were running through one of the intricate pass patterns Curtice likes, and Curtice stopped them.
"A bandy-legged ol' feller like you never should let anyone get to him," he said to a linebacker. "You got arms hang down to your knees. When you go in there go in crash!"
He turned to a halfback.
"And you, when you get through the hole. Don't run out there like a mule in a 20-acre pasture. Look for friends."
Curtice considers his players gentlemen. He insists that they wear a coat and tie when the team travels and that they always address him as sir. "Our motto is 'Be conspicuous by being inconspicuous,' " Curtice, who is fond of mottoes, says.
Two small boys in little league football uniforms watched Curtice from the sidelines. "He don't like nothin'," one of them observed sagely. "He liked us. He saw us play and said so," the other replied. "Aw, I didn't see him out there," said the first.