ATLANTA — Once again, the lure of college football is bringing Bill Curry back to Atlanta.
Almost 50 years after he began his college playing career at Georgia Tech, Curry will become the first coach of Georgia State's new football program Thursday.
Curry's hire was confirmed by a person with knowledge of the process who did not want to be identified because the school has scheduled a news conference for Thursday.
The 65-year-old Curry will join former Atlanta Falcons coach Dan Reeves as patriarchs of the program. Reeves has served as a consultant and helped raise $1.2 million in pledged funds for the program.
Reeves said he was not part of the selection process but said "I can tell you this, I think that is a heck of a choice, a great deal for Georgia State, if that is the case.
"I think Bill will do a super job. He's got a great reputation. You couldn't ask for anyone better to start Georgia State's program. He's got college experience, he has recruited and he lives in Atlanta. I think that's fantastic."
Reeves said he was asked if he'd be interested in the job.
"They talked to me but I just felt they needed to get somebody with college experience and who has recruited and is excited about the job," Reeves said.
Georgia state athletic director Mary McElroy and university president Carl Patton announced in April the school will begin play in 2010 as a Football Championship Subdivision team (formerly Division I-AA).
The Panthers will compete in the Colonial Athletic Association and will play their home games at the Georgia Dome.
Curry played at Tech from 1960-64 and coached the Yellow Jackets from 1980-86. He later coached Alabama to the 1989 Southeastern Conference championship before leaving to coach at Kentucky.
Curry, who effectively retired from coaching after going 26-52 at Kentucky, has worked the last 10 years as a color analyst for ESPN.
Curry did not return phone messages left at his home in Murphy, N.C., or on his cell phone. He also has kept a condominium in Atlanta.
Curry tried to return to Atlanta two years ago. He was the runner-up when Georgia Tech hired Dan Radakovich as athletic director on Feb. 22, 2006.
Curry was a star center at Georgia Tech under coach Bobby Dodd. He played in the NFL for the Green Bay Packers and Baltimore Colts.
Dodd was Tech's athletic director when Curry replaced Pepper Rodgers as football coach in 1980.
Curry had a 31-43-4 record at Tech before he moved to Alabama, where he was 26-10 in three seasons.