GREENSBORO, N.C. (theACC.com) – Charlene Curtis, former ACC Supervisor of Women’s Basketball Officials, died Thursday morning at the age of 67.
“Charlene was a pioneer in the sport of women’s basketball, but more importantly, she was an amazing individual,” said ACC Commissioner Jim Phillips, Ph.D. “Her kindness and class resonated throughout her life, and she will be missed by all who were fortunate to know her and her inspiring spirit.”
Curtis retired as the league’s supervisor of women’s basketball officials in April of 2019, following 11 years of service to the league and more than 24 years of affiliation with the conference as either a coach or administrator.
During her time in the conference office, Curtis oversaw the expansion of the women’s basketball officiating staff, the management of all evaluations and ratings, and numerous training and educational opportunities to promote the recruitment and development of ACC Women’s Basketball Officials. She created and developed local officiating clinics with a common curriculum, something that did not exist previously, and the clinics are now commonplace across the ACC footprint. During her tenure, the ACC added instant replay, developed a league-specific officiating website, and expanded the officiating observer program in partnership with the Colonial Athletic Association.
In total, Curtis spent nearly a quarter-century as a part of ACC Women’s Basketball. She started as an assistant coach at the University of Virginia from 1981-83 before becoming head coach at Radford (84-90) and Temple (90-95). In 1997, she returned to the ACC as the first black women’s basketball head coach in league history when she was hired at Wake Forest. She served in that role through the 2004 season.
Immediately prior to her role as the league’s supervisor of women’s basketball officials, she was a television analyst covering games in both the ACC and SEC, from courtside as well as in studio.
In 1995, she was inducted into the Radford University Hall of Fame and in 2005, was inducted into the Big South Hall of Fame. As a Radford student-athlete, she was the first 1,000-point scorer in women’s basketball history. During her tenure as the Radford head coach her teams were 121-53, winning two Big South Titles and was named the Big South Coach of the Year in 1988 and 1990. Curtis remains second all-time in women’s basketball winning percentage among Big South coaches.
Curtis is survived by her partner of 24 years, Sharolyn S. Grant, her beloved sister Millicent N. Wright (Byrl) and her aunt, Evelyn Board Charlton (late James). Details on a memorial service are incomplete at this time, and in lieu of flowers, the family respectfully asks that donations be made to the: Radford University Foundation (Charlene A. Curtis Women’s Basketball Scholarship), P.O. Box 6893, Radford, VA 24142.