Jack and Chris Currin received the Joseph F. Warner Golden Redbird Award at Redbird Arena in February 2012. (Photo courtesy GoRedbirds.com)
By Eric Stock
NORMAL - Illinois State athletics is mourning the death of its top volunteer and fundraiser.
Jack "Jumbo" Currin of Bloomington died on Tuesday after a battle with pancreatic cancer.
Currin served on the Weisbecker Scholarship Fund Advisory Board for more than 15 years and was a season-ticket holder at Redbird athletic events for more than 25 years.
"His impact on ISU athletics is immeasurable," Development Director Matt Lyons said. "He is the all-time leading volunteer in both money raised and new members raised... and that's by a significant margin. It's not even close."
Currin was instrumental in launching ISU's 'Spread the Red' marketing campaign which began in 2007 and received the Best Sports Marketing Campaign Award from the Central Illinois Chapter of the American Marketing Association.
Lyons said Currin had a selfless desire to help others, ISU student athletes in particular.
"I think if you were to ask him, 'Why do you do what you do?,' He would say we have great kids and they deserve all of the support we can get them."
ISU Athletics Director Gary Friedman said Jumbo had a love for life and for Redbird athletics.
"His incredible passion and enthusiasm for the Redbirds is something I will always remember. Hopefully, we can continue to take that and do the best job we can to continue that on," Friedman said.
ISU's Senior Associate Athletics Director, Leanna Bordner, joked that the former coach Currin never stopped coaching, "He just did it from a different seat as he followed Redbird sports."
Bordner added that Currin became a mentor to some student athletes who he thought needed direction.
Bordner added that she revised Currin's nickname to 'Jumbo-Lite' after he went though the Atkins diet but said he was always a larger-than-life figure at ISU sporting events.
Jack and his wife, Chris Currin, were presented in February of 2012 the Joseph F. Warner Golden Redbird Award, which is ISU's highest honor bestowed to non-athletes.
Executive Associate Athletics Director Larry Lyons said Currin was one of a kind.
"I really wish we could have 10,000 Jumbos. I really do. I don't know if we could handle 10,000 Jumbos," Lyons quipped.
Visitation will be Friday, Jan. 18 at St. Patrick Catholic Church of Merna from 4 p.m. - 7 p.m. The funeral will be Saturday at 11 a.m., also at St. Patrick.
Eric Stock can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.