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Sonya Curry: Who is CBB’s First Mom?

Duke’s Seth Curry had a rough go of it against North Carolina on February 13, going 3-of-10 from the floor. And when he made up for his earlier misfires with a key 3-pointer late, he was upstaged by his own mother.

After the Duke senior swished his trey, ESPN’s cameras panned to an ecstatic Sonya Curry in the crowd. First came a howl of delight, followed by a victory dance that got the Twittersphere buzzing.

With that, Sonya Curry - who was unavailable for an interview - became college basketball’s most recent social media sensation. But this was hardly the first time she found herself in the spotlight.

When Seth’s older brother, Stephen, was enjoying an all-everything career at Davidson in the late 2000s, cameras at the Wildcats’ TV broadcasts made a habit of panning the crowd for his parents - most notably during the Wildcats’ 2008 run to the Elite Eight. There was his dad Dell — a former Virginia Tech star who spent 16 years in the NBA — and Sonya, who is often compared to actress Thandie Newton.

It was to be expected that Dell Curry would get his fair share of screen time during Stephen’s Davidson games, a former sharpshooter proudly watching his oldest son follow suit. Yet once the cameras found his wife, viewers couldn’t get enough.

It wasn’t just Curry’s good looks that got people talking. Seemingly every time the camera panned in on her, she would seemingly comply on demand with a reaction shot to end all reaction shots.

They were the type of reaction shots you would expect from Dell, nervously watching to see if his son could become a star athlete in his own right. But Dell isn’t the only Curry parent with great sporting genes.

In the early-to-mid 1980s, while Dell Curry was knocking down jumpers for the Hokies on the basketball court, Sonya was setting up teammates for spikes as a star setter on Virginia Tech’s volleyball team. (A glance at her photo from the Hokies’ 1986 media guide reveals a striking facial resemblance between her and her two sons.)

But it wasn’t just volleyball that Curry had a deep passion for. While Dell was chasing his dreams in the NBA, Curry was pursuing her dream career in education (she graduated from Virginia Tech with a degree in elementary education and a minor in family studies).

In 1995, with the Currys firmly entrenched in Charlotte during Dell’s 10-year stint with the Hornets (1988–1998), Sonya founded the Christian Montessori School at Lake Norman, in the suburb of Huntersville (a Montessori school is “a method of educating young children that stresses development of a child’s own initiative and natural abilities, especially through practical play”). Eighteen years later, she is still the head of the school, which serves children beginning at six weeks old through sixth grade, and through which each of her three children has passed.

All the while, Sonya Curry has been as devoted a sports parent as one can be. First there was Stephen during his tenure at Davidson. Now there’s Seth at Duke. And starting next year there will be daughter Sydel, taking after her mom and playing collegiate volleyball at Elon University.

Even as Seth Curry continues to rain shots from the outside for college basketball’s most high-profile team, he’s be sharing the spotlight with the woman who helped raise him. And with the Blue Devils in contention for another Final Four and national title, college basketball’s first mom should always be ready for her next close-up.

 
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