Head football coach remembers Knox County teacher as 'a brother' following deadly crash

BARBOURVILLE, Ky. (WKYT) - A Knox County teacher and assistant football coach is being remembered following a deadly Monday morning crash.

The crash happened on U.S. 25 in Barbourville and took the life of Brian Justice.

People who worked with Justice say he was much more than just a teacher. Frank Shelton, who works with the Knox County Schools Career and Technical Education program, says Justice dedicated himself to his students at the Knox County High School Learning Academy.

“It’s a very close-knit family of sorts," Shelton said, "He worked one on one with students.”

Unable to earn a diploma in a traditional high school, the learning academy provides an alternative setting, and people connected with Justice. He had only been in Barbourville two years.

He was hired as an assistant football coach in the spring, and the team has gone 8-0 with a chance to play for the district title Friday night. Head coach Allen Harris says Justice was seen as the missing piece of the puzzle for the program.

"When he came in it was like he had always been there with us. Brian was like a brother to me, our school and community," Harris said.

Justice leaves behind a wife and children. Football practice was canceled Monday, but when they play Friday, the team plans to play for their coach.

“Brian was a huge University of Tennessee fan, so we ordered ribbons for our helmets, orange checkerboard, we are going to wear those Friday night," Allen said.

Friday was already a huge game for the team, but they say a loss of a life puts everything into perspective.

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