JOE KUREY RETIRING FROM BETHANY COLLEGE
BETHANY, W.Va. – Now in his 45th year of devoted service to his alma mater, Senior Vice President and athletic director Joe Kurey is retiring from Bethany College, as announced Thursday (Aug. 24) by Bethany president G.T. “Buck” Smith.
His retirement comes nearly nine months after Kurey assumed the athletic director responsibilities, one of more than 10 roles in which he served the College during his tenure. Since he graduated in 1962 with a degree in mathematics, his titles have included, among others, Assistant Dean of Students, Assistant Dean of Faculty, Registrar, Chief Business Officer and Vice President for Finance and Treasurer.
“Joe Kurey is deeply revered and treasured by the entire college community,” said Smith. “We are all immensely grateful for his willingness to serve in the various capacities during his entire professional career. There is no way we can express adequately our gratitude for his long and faithful service to Bethany.”
Although Kurey will no longer be serving in a day-to-day role with Bethany, he will continue his dedicated service in an informal role.
“We will still be able to rely on Joe for his perspective and guidance on key issues, as he has agreed to continue to serve Bethany informally as Senior Counsel to the President,” said Smith. “I especially appreciate his willingness to maintain relationships that are important to alumni and benefactors, as well as the College.”
The relationships Kurey formed with generations of Bethanians are what he treasures most from his nearly five decades of service.
“There is no doubt that what I have enjoyed the most and what I will miss the most is being around the students,” said Kurey. “And it wasn’t just the athletes. I truly enjoyed having the opportunity to watch the young people of Bethany College grow into major contributors in all phases of life.”
Kurey’s time at Bethany began in 1958 after he graduated from Monessen High School in Western Pennsylvania. An outstanding student-athlete during his career, he was a two-time all-conference selection in basketball and was captain of the 1961-62 team that captured the school’s first PAC title.
On the tennis court, Kurey claimed seven conference titles and posted a 52-7 career record. In recognition of his athletic accomplishments, he was inducted into Bethany’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 1978 as part of the second class ever inducted.
In his numerous roles since graduation, Kurey has seen plenty of change at Bethany. One of the biggest transformations on campus came in the fall of 1994, when as Vice President for Finance and Treasurer, Kurey had a major hand in the building of the Thomas Phillips Johnson Health and Recreation Center.
The $5 million center has a natatorium, which is home to the Bison swimming and diving programs, as well as a weight room and multi-purpose arena that is used by the entire college community. That building, along with Hummel Field House, is the heart of the Bethany athletic complex and is one of the bigger accomplishments of Kurey’s illustrious career.
“I have been a part of all the major buildings on campus since 1987,” said Kurey. “The Johnson Recreation Center, along with the Mary Ewing Tennis Center that was completed at the same time, was one of the biggest due to my interest in athletics. I was very proud to be part of that process because it supplies all of our students an opportunity to be involved in recreation and gives the student-athletes the chance to improve their skills.”
After going full speed for so long and working with seven different presidents at the college, Kurey is now looking forward to spending time with his wife Carol, a 1961 Bethany graduate, as well as their children and grandchildren, although he never plans to be far from the place he called home for so long.
“Carol and I have enjoyed our time at Bethany,” said Kurey. “In addition to meeting so many great people, we raised three children and have been proud members of the community. Moving on now means we will be able to travel more and we’re looking forward to the time we’ll be able to spend with our family.
“But even though I won’t be around it on a day-to-day basis, I still plan on enjoying activities at the school, especially all of the athletic events,” said Kurey.