Curran checks in as Lowell Catholic Athletic Director – Lowell Sun
It’s never easy to take over for a legend. Sitting in the same chair that Jack Fletcher occupied for the past 10 years, as well as Mickey Sullivan before him, is a near impossible task. But Dan Curran is up for the challenge.
A Hamilton native, Curran officially took over as the Athletic Director at Lowell Catholic, July 16. The 31-year-old spent the last two years as the AD at Cristo Rey in Boston, while also previously serving as assistant at both Somerville and Andover High Schools. He just wants to keep the line moving.
“You can never replace Jack Fletcher,” said Curran. “I’m simply here trying to pick up where he left off. He left this place in fantastic shape. As I said to another athletic director, the day Jack gave me the keys, it was a little bit like Dad throwing you his keys to the Ferrari, saying ‘don’t scratch the thing.”
“I feel incredibly privileged to come into a department that is so incredibly well built,” he added. “The foundation is there, so my goal is to kind of shepherd it into the next generation of what it can be.”
Growing up in Hamilton, where he still resides, the 6-foot-8 AD was a “very mediocre” defensive end in football, playing first base for the baseball team. He also served as a student assistant on the basketball team, since his two bad ankles kept him from running.
From high school, he attended St. Joseph’s in Maine for two years, before transferring to Salem State. During those four years he was a member of the Fire Department in Gorham, Maine as well as in Hamilton. He then attended Northeastern University to get his Master’s Degree in Sports Management.
After earning his degrees, Curran returned to Hamilton-Wenham High, helping out then-AD Don Doucette, a Lowell legend himself, for a bit. When Doucette left to take the same position at Andover High, Curran accompanied him at first as an intern, before working his way up to assistant. After that came two years as an assistant at Somerville and then two years as the AD at Cristo Rey.
“Cristo Rey is a really unique program,” Curran said. “And it was a really great experience to work in that environment, to get to know all of those kids and I really enjoyed it. We had a fantastic team of administration and the coaching staff, and I just had a blast. It was hard when I heard that the Lowell Catholic job was open, because I knew the reputation up here. Lowell Catholic had been on my radar for a number of years. When I heard that Jack was retiring, it was really a no-brainer to apply. It was one of the easier decisions I’ve ever made.”
Before leaving his post, Fletcher was instrumental in getting the entire sports department to change leagues, going from the Catholic Central League and now LC, a school size of 350 students but allows middle schoolers to play on its varsity teams. The Crusaders are now in their second year as a member of the Commonwealth Athletic Conference.
“I’m looking to grow the program (adding more sports programs),” said Curran. “Coming into the CAC, it’s a tremendous league so we have to up our offerings a little bit to match the things that they do. I’m also looking to bring the program into a strong technology use, whether that be huddle for our coaching staff, whether that be our new scheduling software that we launched.”
Curran is also looking at social media and how the department can integrate that into what they do.
“I’m just really looking at everything to bring the entire program to that next level,” Curran said. “There’s not much new that I have to bring in, but there’s things that I need to continue to help grow.”
Presently, the Crusaders’ program offers 20 varsity programs: football, boys and girls soccer, girls volleyball, golf, cross-country and cheerleading in the fall; swimming, boys and girls basketball, boys hockey, indoor track and cheerleading in the winter; baseball, softball, boys and girls lacrosse, boys and girls tennis, and boys volleyball in the spring.
Among all those teams are a handful of well-respected veteran coaches, one of the big draws that led Curran here.
“It’s some place that people come and stay,” said Curran. “That’s my goal. I want to be here, this is my 20-year spot, and these staffs are tremendous. They put in a lot of work, but it doesn’t seem like a lot of work because they have so much dedication and passion for what they do and so much dedication to the kids. At the end of the day, it comes down to what’s in the best interest for the student-athlete and that’s something that I‘ve really enjoyed.”
Besides adding additional sports and beefing up the technology aspect, Curran said he has a few other ideas that he wants to implement.
“My philosophy when I came here is I just want to provide the best experience I can for the whole student,” Curran said. “Whether that’s taking care of little things, or taking care of program wide development type stuff, providing leadership quality programs, providing opportunities for the student-athletes to get faster and stronger by the use of the weight room and making sure that’s up to date as much as possible.”
Curran went on to say that this year is more about observing and evaluating, before really putting together a bigger plan.
“The first two months have been great,” said Curran, adding that he owes a lot of gratitude to assistant AD Cam Connors. “I’m meeting new folks and I’m rekindling some old friendships. It’s been two months of about 80 hours per week and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. The old saying of if you do what you love, you never work a day in your life, well I take that a step further and say that if you are having fun at what you’re doing, you’ll never work a day in your life. I enjoy this, no matter how chaotic it gets.”