Curtis Blackwell Named Director of College Advancement and Performance/Camp Director

In what could have been the worst kept secret in the Spartan Nation, MSU finally announced today that they have filled the vacant recruiting coordinator position. MSU had fallen badly behind the times and only recently stepped up and added $4 million dollars per year to the football budget. That move by the Board of Trustees allowed the hire to happen, along with many other upgrades. Spartan Nation led the way reporting on the embarrassing funding for the MSU football program since 2009. Spartan Nation broke the story that the board had finally moved to rectify the situation.

Mark Dantonio made what has been universally praised as an incredible hire, when he added Curits Blackwell to the post. Blackwell is a terrific hire. Here is the official MSU press release about the move provided by MSU SID John Lewandowski.

Curtis Blackwell Named Director of College Advancement and Performance/Camp Director

Blackwell is the co-founder/director of the “Sound Mind, Sound Body” Football Academy.


EAST LANSING, Mich. – Curtis Blackwell has been named director of college advancement and performance camp/director, seventh-year Spartan head football coach Mark Dantonio announced Friday, Aug. 2.

“First and foremost, we appreciate the administration’s support for establishing this critical position,” said Dantonio. “Curtis Blackwell brings a wealth of contacts to this position through his work with the state’s high school coaches association, national 7-on-7 camps, youth football programs as well as his work as a camp director.

“In this day and age of accelerated recruiting, those relationships can only benefit Michigan State. He also gained valuable experience interning with the NCAA. Curtis has demonstrated his innovation in creating the ‘Sound Mind, Sound Body’ camps. He pays great attention to detail while possessing outstanding interpersonal and communication skills.

“In his new role, Curtis can make a significant impact, not only on our current players but future Spartans as well. We’re truly excited about him joining our Michigan State football staff.”

One of Blackwell’s primary duties will be to mentor current student-athletes, with a focus on leadership, graduation and career objectives. He also will play a key role in the development and implementation of strategic plans in football recruiting. He will have creative input in recruit mailings, all social media outlets, and the website, and will work in conjunction with the recruiting staff to organize all official and unofficial campus visits.

In addition, Blackwell will coordinate and serve as the camp director for all MSU football summer camps and work on the continuing development of relationships with youth football programs throughout the state of Michigan.

A native of Detroit, Mich., Blackwell was a four-year letterwinner (1996-99) as a defensive back at Hampton University and helped the Pirates to a combined 32-15 (.680) during his career. The Pirates advanced to the NCAA Division I-AA Playoffs back-to-back seasons (1997-98), won 10 games in 1997, tied for the third-highest single-season total in school history, and defeated Southern in the 1999 Heritage Bowl. Blackwell earned his bachelor’s degree in sports management in 2000.

Following his graduation from Hampton, Blackwell was the first recipient of the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA)/Baylor University joint sports administration graduation scholarship. Blackwell served as a graduate assistant in the Baylor athletics department and helped in football operations. After earning his master’s degree in sports administration from Baylor University in 2002, Blackwell was selected to participate in the NCAA Internship Program in Indianapolis.

Upon the completion of his internship with the NCAA, Blackwell co-founded the Lifting As We Climb Foundation (LAWCF) Inc. in 2004, a nonprofit charity that has worked with more than 4,000 males since its inception.

One of the national initiatives of the Lifting As We Climb Foundation was the “Sound Mind, Sound Body” (SMSB) Football Academy, which Blackwell co-founded. For the past nine years, Blackwell has served as the co-director of SMSB, a program devoted to high school student-athletes who aspire to play in college that emphasizes the importance of both academics and athletics. Through SMSB, Blackwell has mentored and helped develop numerous student-athletes reach their goal of earning college scholarships. SMSB has run camps throughout the country, including Chicago, Southfield, Mich., Tulsa, Okla., and Washington, D.C.

“After running the ‘Sound Mind, Sound Body’ and Maximum Exposure Travel football programs at the grassroots level for nine years, I felt like the time was right for me to make an impact on young people at the collegiate level,” said Blackwell. “These programs will continue to make an impact and are now self-sustaining with major sponsorships, a national reputation, and solid staff to administer and manage the day-to-day operations without me as I continue to grow professionally in East Lansing. I’m excited about this opportunity to help improve the life of young people on a higher level. Michigan State is a great program – it’s not every day you get to work with a staff like this.

“One of the biggest things for me on why I was excited about this position was the way that Michigan State has developed and assessed talent,” Blackwell continued. “I can learn a lot from working with a staff that is real thorough in their evaluation of high school prospects. Coach Dantonio is honest, loyal and easy to relate to, which can be hard to find in this day and age of coaches.”

Blackwell has previous coaching experience in high school, with stops at Detroit Martin Luther King High School (2003-05, 2007) and Detroit Mackenize High School (2006). Blackwell was on the staff at Martin Luther King when the Crusaders won the Division 2 state title in 2007.

Following his high school coaching, Blackwell created a mentoring/after school tutorial program that provides free tutoring to underserved youth in Detroit, Pontiac, Flint and Saginaw. In 2010 the program expanded to Jackson and Meridian, Mississippi. He is also an advisory council member with the Michigan DECA High School Association.

Blackwell was a three-sport letterwinner at Martin Luther King High School in Detroit in football, basketball and track. He earned all-city honors in both football and track and earned a football scholarship to Hampton.