This is not the way Bill Curry's dream was supposed to end. His Georgia State University team is 1-9, and he's about to coach the final game of his career on a campus in the state of Maine that honors hockey more than football.
He has spent time on the biggest stages a player and coach can work. He hiked the ball to Starr and Unitas and played for Lombardi. He has three Super Bowl rings and a gallery of memories. He coached a team that was on top of the world but is more familiar with the basement of college football.
Now the game is ending.
Saturday he trots on to a football field for the last time as a player or coach, leaving behind a coaching career that is far from typical.
His losing seasons outnumber the winning ones. His won-loss record is 93-127-4 so even if the Panthers pull out a victory this week no one will be impressed.
Curry started at Georgia Tech, his alma mater, then went to the University of Alabama, taking on a proud program that needed a counselor as much as a coach.
He wore out his welcome in three years and went to Kentucky -- a school that thinks balls should be dribbled.
Three years ago, he reemerged as the first head coach at Georgia State, only seven subway stops from College Park where Curry grew up.
To everyone's surprise, his inaugural team had a winning record.
Since then, victories have been scarce and a few months ago Curry announced he would retire at the end of the 2012 season.
His reputation is impeccable and what he stands for should not be questioned but as a football coach Curry has always been a polarizing figure. He was a good player and played for great coaches, but could he coach?
Most of us aren't capable of judging that.
What we can judge is his character and the life lessons he passes on to the young men under his leadership.
When he was at Alabama, my published opinions of him weren't always popular. I defended him because I believed in what he did off the field, dealing with problems of alcohol abuse and other behavioral issues. He wasn't terrible as a coach either for his 1989 team won 10 straight before losing to Auburn at Jordan-Hare Stadium and to national champion Miami in the Sugar Bowl.
Understanding those things, you understand some of the reasons behind him taking a step down in his profession to take the Kentucky job.
His unusual career ends this weekend and the game won't be on ESPN and won't have an affect on anybody's national poll.
But whatever the scoreboard, Bill Curry should never be forgotten.
-- Richard Hyatt is an independent correspondent. He can be reached at email@example.com