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Mark Curry was always going to play football.

Even if meant wearing dad-mandated knee braces that hindered his speed but guarded against injury. 

Curry's first love was basketball. After graduating from Kelly Walsh in 1996, he walked on at the University of Utah before transferring to Wyoming.

But football was always a part of his plans in high school, no matter what his future held.

"I remember before my senior year there was a lot of people asking me 'Well are you even going to play football because you don't want to get injured for basketball,'" Curry recalled, sitting behind his desk in a third-story office in downtown Casper. "That never crossed my mind. It was like 'Oh yeah, I'm going to play football. I love football.'"

Curry grew up in Buffalo, but moved to Casper before seventh grade. Originally a quarterback, he switched to wide receiver permanently as a junior and used his 6-foot-3 frame and basketball athleticism to become a force for the Trojans and a member of the 1995 Casper Star-Tribune/Wyoming Radio Network Super 25. 

"I had a definite height advantage," Curry said. "For whatever reason a lot of the defensive backs, they weren't very tall so it was easy for the quarterback, Shaun Reinhardt, to throw up a jump ball and I could go get it above them. That was a lot of my catches. I was not super fast, especially with the knee braces on."

Kelly Walsh was only a combined 7-9 during the 1994 and 1995 seasons, losing in the Class 4A quarterfinals both seasons. Yet 20 years later, Curry is still able to rattle off a number of memorable moments.  

He remembers the atmosphere of the Oil Bowl, making several catches against Laramie in the 1995 playoffs, and beating Cheyenne Central during the regular season in overtime on his game-winning touchdown. 

Even when he knew he was headed to Utah to play basketball, Curry still played in the Shrine Bowl after his senior year.  

"I thought about when I took off my pads in Laramie that last football game, it was like 'This is the last time I'm going to wear a football helmet, football pads,'" Curry said. "But I got to do it again at the Shrine Bowl and that was really fun." 

After college, Curry moved to Denver for a few years before coming back to Casper in 2004. He's now the owner and operator of MC HOME DESIGN, specializing in custom design for new residences.

He also coaches his daughter's fourth and fifth grade basketball team at St. Anthony, and still keeps in touch with some of his former coaches at Kelly Walsh, including Kevin Williams, who led the Trojans' football team from 1989-1997. 

Curry looks back fondly on his final years playing football and wishes more kids today would take the opportunity to also play multiple sports, even if the secondary sport won't lead to a college scholarship. 

"I think that the best thing to do is to play all the sports that you can," Curry said. "It's competing and you learn something from football that you can take to basketball. You can learn something from basketball that you can take to football, to baseball, to track, whatever it is.

"I never even hesitated because I wanted to do it. I never had that fear of getting injured. I was just going to play because it's fun."

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Follow sports director Ross Jacobson on Twitter @WyoVarsity

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