John T. Curtis, better known as J.T., became just the second football coach at any level to reach 600 wins on Friday after leading John Curtis Christian (River Ridge, La.)
to a 37-16 victory over Archbishop Shaw (Marrero, La.).
The tireless 74-year-old now trails only the late John McKissick of Sumerville (S.C) who retired in 2014 with a 621-155-13 record over 62 seasons. McKissick died
at the age 93 in 2019.
Curtis, in his 52nd second, began coaching in 1969 at age 22.
A 27-point explosion in the second quarter lifted the Patriots to their second win of the season in three outings.
Known for his veer offense and three-a-day preseason practices in the early years, the former nose tackle at the University of Arkansas has led the Patriots to 27 state titles.
His teams have lost 71 times with six ties though they haven't been as dominating in recent years, going 6-4 last season while entering Friday's game 1-1.
He's coached at least
who went on to the NFL, including 2021 Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee Alan Faneca, former New England Patriots' first-round draft pick Reggie Dupard and current linebackers Duke Riley (Dolphins) and Kenny Young (Rams).
John Curtis Christian was founded in 1962 by Curtis' father, John T. Curtis Sr.
J.T. went 0-10 in his first season in 1969, but won his first state crown six seasons later. He's led the Patriots to 14 unbeaten seasons, the last in 2018 when they went 13-0 and captured the state Division I title.
"I'm a strong believer that amateur athletics are the backbone of our country," he told FNFCoaches.com
. "When guys come back and say 'thanks,' that the reward of coaching."
Christopher Dabe of Nola.com
interviewed several players from his 1970 squad that were part of his first high school victories. Former two-way lineman Harry Hawks thinks there's no reason why Curtis won't break McKissick's all-time record.
"If Tom Brady can be a quarterback until age 50, then J.T. can be a coach until 100," Hawks said. "He's an ageless wonder."
On Sept. 24, Hampton (Va.)
coach Mike Smith became just the third high school coach to reach 500 wins with a 19-6 victory over Warwick (Newport News). Smith's Crabbers were 4-0 heading into Friday's game at Phoebus (Hampton).