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Johnson Central community remembers late coach

Published: Aug. 27, 2021 at 1:51 AM EDT
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PAINTSVILLE, Ky. (WYMT) - There is a palpable sense of loss at Johnson Central, with the loss of a community icon.

“It’s still just very surreal,” said JCHS principal Justin Arms. “It’s a shock that one’s friend, great offensive coach is no longer with us. we were planning on getting together. It’s just so sad we’re not going to have the opportunity.”

According to Greenup County Schools, assistant coach Jamie Kennedy died Wednesday at the age of 49. He had been in quarantine since Friday.

Kennedy spent nearly a decade as an assistant coach at Johnson Central and Arms said he was a positive presence there.

“Coach Kennedy had a heart of gold,” Arms said. “He truly had a love for his kids. He was a very compassionate man and never knew if he were having a bad day.”

Central Elementary School assistant principal Mike Conley got to know Kennedy when he came there to teach Physical Education.

“I got to know Jamie because that’s when I started teaching,” Conley said. “So he was as much of a father figure to me here at this school…Jamie was one of the most selfless people I’ve ever met. Truly invested in his players and his students here. More than anyone I’ve ever known.”

As a member of the staff that brought the first state title to Johnson Central in 2016, Conley says he brought even more.

“He gives people hope,” Conley said. “He was part of that movement that really did give people hope during that state championship, being truly invested in those kid’s lives. Getting them active, getting them involved. Even not so much in football just what may be of interest to them.”

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