Terry Justice, a Lacrosse institution in the state of Kentucky, enters his fifth year as head coach of the Transylvania men's lacrosse program.
Justice was named Transylvania's first men's lacrosse coach in June 2011 and has since quickly guided the evolution of the program into becoming a national contender at the Division III level. In four years as the beacon of Transylvania men's lacrosse, the team has never experienced a losing season, and the Pioneers currently reign as the back-to-back champions of the Ohio River Lacrosse Conference.
Justice's defenses have finished back-to-back years in the top-5 nationally in scoring defense and clearing efficiency. During that run of defensive excellence, Justice has coached multiple players who have averaged in the top-20 nationally in face-off percentage.
With that team success has come a cornucopia of individual recognition also; in 2016, goalie Cooper Fogle was named the ORLC Defense Player of the Year and an All-ORLC First Team selection. Eight other players earned All-ORLC recognition to cap off a winning season that saw the Pioneers go 6-1 in conference and win their second straight conference championship game.
The year before, the Pioneers went 11-6 and 5-1 in the ORLC, winning the ORLC Tournament Championship at home over St. Vincent. Following the 2015 season, Justice was named the Ohio River Lacrosse Conference Coach of the Year and saw 11 players garner postseason awards. The Pioneers completed 2015 as both ORLC conference tournament and regular season champions.
Justice and the sport of Lacrosse in Kentucky have experienced an intertwined relationship since he arrived to the Bluegrass in the late 1970s. Discovering a passion and love for the sport in his high school years, Justice continued his pursuit of the game at the University of Kentucky where he helped form the first men's lacrosse club team at Kentucky and played from 1979-1983.
At the turn of the century, Justice's impact on the lacrosse scene in Lexington spread like wildfire as he was instrumental towards the sport's local growth.
By 1999, no formal high school lacrosse scene existed. But after Justice coached a middle school lacrosse team that year, he was asked by parents of those players to spearhead a high school program, and started a high school club team in 2000.
As lacrosse programs at different high schools and middle schools quickly sprouted in large part to Justice's efforts, he was summoned by Lexington Catholic High School to orchestrate their high school club team.
In 2003, Justice was made the full-time head coach of the Lexington Catholic Lacrosse program. Justice went on to coach at Lexington Catholic from 2004 through 2011, winning the Kentucky State High School Coach of the Year award in 2004 and 2005. At Lexington Catholic, Justice compiled a 73-33 record and led the Knights to state runner-up showings in 2006 and 2008.
In 2011, Justice got the call from Transy to be the head coach for their inaugural men's lacrosse program and he enthusiastically accepted, taking on his first collegiate head coach gig.
Since his arrival to Transy in 2011, the program has bloomed into one of the premier programs in Division III. The Pioneers have carved out a reputation for fastidious defense, precision clearing, and a physicality rooted in chemistry and blue-collar work ethic. The Pioneers have averaged over nine wins a season, and their success stems from key beliefs by their head coach.
"I'm very invested in Kentucky lacrosse and these kids who play the game," says Justice. What intrigues me on a day-to-day basis is teaching the fundamentals of the game, and figuring out ways to teach our kids fundamentals every day. Fundamentals are the components to execution, that's how you win or lose."
In recognition of his contributions to the game in Kentucky, Justice was part of an inaugural five-person class inducted into the Kentucky Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 2015.
While his accolades are plentiful and his presence in Kentucky lacrosse is indelible, Justice's motivations still return to the core elements of teaching, coaching, his players, and the school he represents.
"This University is important to me and our culture," espouses Justice. "My measure is not necessarily going to be only wins and losses, though that does come into the equation, but more importantly what kind of young men these student-athletes are going to become. Did they graduate from this University? Are they successful when they get out of this University? That's how I'm going to be truly measured, so working with these young men is what keeps me going, and that's the fun part, to fight through some hard times together and learn life lessons."
In addition to his duties as head coach of Transylvania men's lacrosse, Justice also serves as the assistant athletic director at Transylvania for Outdoor Facilities..
13-4 (7-0 ORLC)
ORLC Tournament Champions
NCAA Tournament 2nd Round
|10-6 (6-1 ORLC)||ORLC Tournament Champions|
|2015||11-6 (5-1 ORLC)||ORLC Tournament Champions|
|TOTALS||50-28||.641 Winning Percentage|