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Advocate staff photo by APRIL BUFFINGTON -- John Curtis' head football coach J. T. Curtis coaches against Parkview on Friday at Parkview Baptist.

April Buffington

The winningest football coach in history, J.T. Curtis, works out of modest Christian high school in River Ridge. Curtis, son of John Curtis, who founded John Curtis Christian High School in 1962, has more than 550 wins, 26 state championships and 13 perfect seasons since beginning coaching the team in 1969. He has won 90 percent of his games.

He was twice named National Coach of the Year by USA Today and has been inducted into national, high school and state football halls of fame. He is also the headmaster of the school and its athletic director. Though his father passed away in 2005, before Hurricane Katrina, the family, including J.T. Curtis’ brothers and sisters and their children, still operate the school.

The high school’s football team was the first in the region to start practicing after Hurricane Katrina, even before electricity was turned back on. One of the team’s most famous players, Joe McKnight, played at the University of Southern California and then the New England Patriots. Other players that went on to the NFL include Reggie Dupard, Chris Howard and Jonathan Wells.