J.T. Curtis was named the American Family Insurance ALL-USA Coach of the Year.
School: John Curtis Christian (River Ridge, La.)
Details: Coached team to the No.1 spot in the Super 25 football rankings, a 14-0 season and the 2A state championship. Second in career wins for a high school football coach with an all-time record of 520-54-6. Has won 25 state titles. He also is the headmaster of the school, which his father founded.
Favorite mentor: “Other than my dad, who was a tremendous influence in my life in a lot of different ways, I had a tremendous high school football coach in Bob Whitman at East Jefferson. He went on to coach at Tulane and then worked with the New Orleans Saints and San Francisco 49ers as their chief scout. He was a big influence as far as the discipline, the work ethic, the commitment to young people and strong faith-based values that were a reinforcement of what I learned at home. I was also fortunate to play college football for Frank Broyles at Arkansas. He was a guy who was ahead of his time in terms of organizational skills and how he ran his program.”
Best concert: “Bill and Gloria Gaither have really taken religious music to another level. We will travel several hours to go to one of their concerts. It’s not only inspiring spiritually, but it’s an uplifting experience. They could perform at any level. They’ve chosen to direct their talents to God.”
Recent read: I’m reading the Book of James, which is in the Bible. He’s the half-brother of Jesus. Reading his perspective of Jesus is totally different than anyone else. He saw him as a physical brother. It has been enjoyable.
Reason for team’s success: “It’s a consistency of teaching. Leon Curtis (his brother) and Mike Robertson are two of the mainstay guys who have been with me since the early beginning. The additions to our staff have been guys who have played here and have gone on to play college and come back. We have a very consistent teaching process in terms of calling defenses or plays. That’s extremely important. They pride each other on being students of the game. You can’t reinvent the wheel, but you can try to make it better. You can make it smoother, a little rounder.”