Time was the only thing that kept Curtis E. Harrison from becoming the first five-sport athlete in Old Dominion University's history. Because he needed time to study as well as to coach and play intramural sports, Kirkie confined himself to varsity competition only in baseball, basketball, tennis and golf.
The 5'10", 140-lb. athlete starred at second base, started at guard, played singles and doubles tennis matches, and usually shot in the 70's in golf. He also competed in intramural track, football and wrestling, and coached basketball. In his spare time, he refereed, parked cars and did other jobs to earn tuition.
"I came along at the right time to compete in more than one sport, and I owe a lot to my coaches for letting me do that. I am especially thankful to Bud Metheny for letting me play more than baseball and basketball, and to Pete Robinson for opening the golf and tennis doors to me even though I didn't have time to practice those sports," he said.
Named the city's outstanding baseball player by the Norfolk Sports Club for his exploits as an all-district shortstop at Maury High, he was third among the nation's collegiate second baseman in fielding as a junior. He remembers making his first error on is 100th chance. "I wanted the other team to hit to me because I was confident I could handle the ball," he said. He also hit over .300 three years, helped turn a record number of double plays, and shared a stolen base record with four thefts in one game. Twice a co-captain, he helped lead the Monarchs to Little 8 titles.
In basketball, he played alongside Leo Anthony, ODU's first All-American athlete. "When I outscored him, I knew that I had played really well," he said.
Harrison began playing tennis during his junior year and found time to play only about half the matches. His practice had come years before. "I grew up next to a tennis court," he explained.
Despite his low scores, Harrison never had a formal golf lesson. "My dad played golf and I used to beat balls around with his clubs," he said. His father and two older brothers also excelled in baseball.
After graduating from ODU in 1962 with a major in physical education, he coached other teams at Oscar Smith, Maury and Lake Taylor high schools.
"My biggest satisfaction has been the growth of my athletes as people. I'm proud that I have been able to help others the way I was helped," he said when inducted in 1987.