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It was 'Chuck Arnold Day' at Curtis High School, and the Seattle Seahawks' president felt the love

A 1989 graduate from the school, Arnold has gone from twice-cut basketball player to running an NFL organization

UNIVERSITY PLACE, Wash. - Charles "Chuck" Arnold is one of the most powerful people in the state of Washington. As president of the Seattle Seahawks, he runs one of 32 NFL franchises.

But his climb from do-anything intern to do-everything boss over nearly three decades has been nothing short of remarkable.

And he returned Wednesday to where it all started - Curtis High School. The 1989 Vikings graduate received a warm salute as part of "Chuck Arnold Day" around the town in which he spent most of his teenager years.

"I've got a ton of great memories growing up in University Place," he told a packed gymnasium of students, teachers and district administrators.

It's also where Arnold fed an insatiable work ethic.

Even as far back as the early 1980s when he was a pre-teen in Port Orchard, he held a job. His first one was being paid per cigarette butt he picked up around a local marina.

When Arnold moved to University Place in seventh grade, he lived with his uncle and aunt for a few years before moving to stay with his father, who was a single parent.

Seattle Seahawks president Chuck Arnold returns to Curtis High School where he graduated from - and was honored at Wednesday for "Chuck Arnold Day."

Charles "Chuck" Arnold moved into University Place in seventh grade, and graduated from Curtis High School in 1989.

In Arnold's household, jobs came before athletics, so as a teenager, he worked at a car dealership, an auto body shop and for a construction company.

"It was not the easiest path, but it also created grit," Arnold said.

Arnold played football at Curtis Junior High School, but was injured and eventually quit. Once he got to high school, he tried out twice for the varsity basketball team. Each time, he was cut.

And yet, it was basketball that provided him a foretelling intersection for the rest of his life.

As a senior, he was invited to play in a charity game - against Seahawks players, coaches and other staff members.

Arnold went off to Washington State University and earned a sports management degree. After graduating in 1994, he first took an internship with the local minor league baseball team - the Tacoma Tigers.

A few days into it, Arnold was contacted by the Seahawks to interview for a community relations/public relations internship position, which he was offered - and accepted.

Seattle Seahawks president Chuck Arnold returns to Curtis High School where he graduated from - and was honored at Wednesday for "Chuck Arnold Day."

Seahawks president Chuck Arnolds talks to former Curtis football coach Bob Lucey during a lunch break Wednesday.

He did everything, from holding "down" markers at practice, to shuttling players to doctors' appointments and airline reservations.

When the internship was over, the Seahawks asked Arnold to stay on and become one of their 50 employees.

In good times or bad, when Arnold was asked to fulfill a responsibility, he gave a stock answer: "Yeah, I'll do it!"

Arnold took on anything. He became the Seahawks' director of tickets operations in 1997. Thirteen years later, he was promoted to vice president of sales and marketing. And in 2013, he received his biggest advancement yet - chief operating officer.

In the fall of 2018, Arnold was named president of the franchise, replacing Peter McLoughlin. He earned a contract extension last year through 2027.

During a DECA classroom presentation Wednesday, Arnold was asked what was the best advice he had ever been given during his meteoric rise within the NFL organization.

Arnold's eyes lit up.

"Grow where your feet are planted," he said.