Longtime Central High School football coach Joel Helton passed away Saturday morning after a fight with liver cancer. Helton coached at Central from 1984-2010.
Helton was inducted to the Greater Knoxville Sports Hall of Fame in 2014 and was recently secured to be inducted into the Central High School Sports Hall of Fame. That induction ceremony will be August 22 at 9 a.m.
The football field at Central also shares his name.
“He was another dad for everybody that knew him and played from him,” said A.J. Nance, who played for Helton from 2002-2006. “He looked out for the best for all of us.”
Helton had a record of 194-105 at Central, including a State Runner-Up finish in 1999.
He resigned from Central in 2011 after allegations that he threatened to hit a student with a stick.
Funeral arrangements have not been announced.
Glad I had the opportunity to know and coach against Joel Helton. O vs D!!! He was a fierce competitor! Good to me as a young coach! #Tough
— Tony Lambert (@CoachTLambert) July 4, 2015
Joel Helton is playing in his last home game. Heaven. We all love you man. #prideandtradition
— snapper (@Snapper_Vol) July 4, 2015
Thoughts %26 prayers go out to Chris %26 the Helton family this morning. Joel was not only my teacher but friend for many years. RIP Coach 🙏🏼🐾
— Robin Gibson (@robinrgibson) July 4, 2015
RIP Joel Helton. A true coaching legend and a man who positively influenced hundreds of young men during his career.
— Bill Mynatt (@bill_mynatt) July 4, 2015