Nov. 21, 2012
When Doug Curtis first arrived on the campus of Michigan State as a freshman in the fall of 2009, he was an out-of-state student with a unique major, just trying to find his way.
He will leave with a degree from one of the most respected hospitality business schools in the nation while playing football for a program that won a Big Ten Championship during his career.
Curtis, originally a zoology major, joined the Spartan program as a walk-on midway through his freshman year during winter workouts in January 2010. Ever since, the Weston, Conn., native has been a valuable member of the scout team along the defensive line, and it's something he has grown to take pride in.
"When I first got here, I was honestly just happy to put a helmet on," said Curtis, who was named Scout Team Defensive Player of the Week twice last season. "As I've progressed over the past three years, it's been more of an honor. Someone has to do it, so I've been happy to be able to come out here and play football and get these guys ready for the game."
Curtis is thankful for the opportunity the Spartan coaches have given him to walk on at an elite Big Ten program. He got onto the field against Florida Atlantic and Indiana in 2011, and made his first career tackle in the 55-3 win over the Hoosiers in which MSU clinched the Big Ten Legends Division title.
"I'm really big into working out and staying in shape," said Curtis. "Football has been a great gateway for me to stay healthy. Really, it's just being a part of the team, and knowing that my brothers are with me and I'm a part of a family. It's really nice to be able to come out here and do it all together. To go against these guys in practice every day, I'll be able to keep that for the rest of my life."
Curtis said he will miss the family environment and his teammates the most
after leaving Michigan State following graduation in May. From there, he will shift
his attention toward another interest of his - food.
"I've been working in restaurants since I was 16," said Curtis, who worked at Harper's in East Lansing for three years while going to school, rising to the position of assistant general manager. "I've always had a passion for food. Ever since I came out of the womb, I was hungry. I was always eating. Ask anyone back home, I could put it away. I've just always been around food and people."
Curtis switched his major as a sophomore and hasn't looked back.
"There's so many options in hospitality business," he remarked. "You can work in a restaurant, a hotel, or a casino. Eventually I want to open my own place. I have a couple of ideas. I won't give them away right now though."
Senior Day came quickly for Curtis, who will be joined by his parents Joseph and Alexis for his final home game as a Spartan.
"It's kind of like a dream; it went by so fast," Curtis said. "There's just so many memories. It was great getting to play a few plays last year. Just being a part of this team, every day is really a memory for me. I really have tried to cherish every second that I was here."
By Ben Phlegar, Michigan State Athletic Communications. This feature was originally published in the Nov. 17 edition of Michigan State Football Gameday Magazine.