Curtis, ‘world’s greatest coach,’ passes away

Pine Bluff lost the “world’s greatest coach” on Sunday when Heulan Curtis passed away at the age of 84.

Even though Curtis has not coached since the late 1990s, according to Taylor Field Executive Director Jim Hill, his impact could still be felt in the community.

“He’s going to be a loss. You are going to miss him anytime he comes around and he always highlighted the crowd,” Hill said. “He was a good man and a good coach for the kids. He always had the nickname world’s greatest coach, and Heulan was the greatest coach there was.”

Curtis was a little league coach and a Babe Ruth baseball coach for nearly 30 years. He also was a longtime football official and an umpire.

Hill knew Curtis for about 50 years and said most of the kids in Pine Bluff wanted to play for the teams Curtis managed.

“He was a kid’s person and he loved kids,” Hill said. “Kids wanted to be on his team and he would tell them he would get them on there when there was the draft. Of course he couldn’t pick them all up, but he didn’t want to hurt their feelings.”

Curtis is a big part of Taylor Field’s history. In 1972, Curtis and Ed Brown were an important part in getting the Babe Ruth World Series to Pine Bluff.

The two teamed together again to get the Babe Ruth World Series back in town in 1975. The World Series consisted of eight regions all throughout the United States.

“Heulen was instrumental, along with Ed Brown, in getting the World Series,” Hill said. “That’s a very big deal and he loved Taylor Field. “We had 2,000 to 3,000 people come and see the games and it had a family atmosphere type feel to it.”

When Curtis retired, he helped out at the Seabrook Family Christian Center.

“He opened it up at 5 or 6 a.m. for the people who wanted to use it,” Hill said.

In 2003, Curtis’ wife, Margie, passed away.

“He was lost without her and his kids wanted him to be with them,” Hill said. “He didn’t want to go, but he finally did.”

Curtis had four children — Beverly Dunkum, Karen Holland, Randy Curtis and Gary Curtis. Gary is the head coach for the Hot Springs Lakeside baseball team.

Heulen resided in Hot Springs when he passed away on Sunday.