Three local high school graduates seeing professional success: Jim Curtin (McDevitt ’97), Dan Durkin (McDevitt ’71), Michael Higgins (Cheltenham ’88)

Local historian Chuck Langerman has highlighted the current professional statuses of three local alumni.

Jim Curtin (above left)

Curtin, a 1997 graduate of Bishop McDevitt High School, has served as the Philadelphia Union Head Coach since November 2014.

A native of Oreland, Curtin joined the Union staff at the academy ranks in June 2010 after joining YSC Sports in Wayne as the director of curriculum development.

He attended Villanova University where he was named Big East Rookie of the Year in 1997 and a three-time team MVP. The All-American defender was a two-time first team All-Big East selection in 1999 and 2000 and was the 2001 Philadelphia Soccer Seven Player of the Year. He became the first player from Villanova to be drafted into the MLS when selected by the Chicago Fire in 2001.

Curtin was named Coach of the year in 2020 and 2022, becoming the youngest two-time recipient of the honor and fifth coach overall in league history to win the award multiple times. In 2022, Curtin led the team to a historic run to become Eastern Conference Champions for the first time in club history.

More on his coaching career here.

Jim Curtin, Philadelphia Union head coach, speaks to service members and families assigned to Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst during a practice session at Subaru Park, Pennsylvania, July 13, 2023. The Philadelphia Union and the United Service Organization in New Jersey teamed up to celebrate service members and their families by providing them a chance to meet the players and coaching staff. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Sergio Avalos)

Dan Durkin (above middle)

Durkin, a 1971 McDevitt graduate, is a basketball Recruiting Advisor for Reign3D Training Academy in Beaver Falls and has coached for over 30 years.

He started his coaching career in Northern Ireland from 1980-84 where he headed a Division I men’s professional team in the Irish National League. In 1984, he became an assistant women’s basketball coach at New Mexico State and was later hired by Penn State University as assistant coach from 1985-1993. Durkin served as Penn State’s recruiting coordinator during the last six years of his tenure.

From 1993-2007, he served as the head coach at Duquesne University and is the winningest coach in program history. Durkin helped to produce two WBNA draft picks in Korie Hlede and Candice Futrell; the first and only WBNA picks to come out of Duquesne. Hlede was Duquesne’s first ever All-American who then went on to be an assistant coach with the Detroit Shock after finishing her professional playing career.

Coach Durkin went on to help Temple University as an assistant coach during the 2008-12 seasons, during which the Owls had four 20+ win seasons, three NCAA Tournament appearances, and a trip to the Women’s National Invitation Tournament (WNIT) Round of 16 in 2012.

Durkin concluded his coaching career at Providence College from 2012-2016 and then University of Rhode Island during the 2017 season.

Michael Higgins (above right)

Detective Sergeant Michael Higgins, a 1988 Cheltenham High School graduate, completed his 18th year of service at the Lower Providence Township Police Department.

Higgins first worked for the North Wildwood, N.J. police as a seasonal patrolman while attending college. He then worked for 13 years for the Norristown police, serving in the patrol division, the canine unit and the SWAT team.

Higgins started working for the Lower Providence police in July 2006 and worked his way up the ranks. He is a 1994 graduate of Temple University where he majored in Criminal Justice.

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