Garin Justice has joined Florida Atlantic University’s football staff and will serve as the Owls’ offensive line coach, Charlie Partridge, FAU’s head football coach, announced.
“I always vowed that I would only leave Concord University for a special place, and with Coach (Charlie) Partridge at the helm, Florida Atlantic is a special place,” said Justice. “When you coach, you want to go to a place where you’ve got a chance to do big things. FAU football is on the path to do big things. Coach Partridge and his staff have done a tremendous job and I’m excited to improve upon that. I want to thank Coach Partridge for this amazing opportunity - that is absolutely a dream come true. I can’t wait to get to work. Owls Up!”
Justice will join newly-hired Offensive Coordinator Travis Trickett as new staff members when the squad returns to school Sunday, Jan. 10, but the duo of Trickett and Justice first began working together at West Virginia as student/graduate assistants and then again at Florida State.
Justice’s career coaching journey then took a different path which ultimately led to a head coaching position at Concord University in Athens W.Va. - a position at which he served for the last five seasons.
Justice assumed the helm of Concord, a program that had been winless (0-11) as recently as 2008, in January of 2011. In his five-year stint, the Mountain Lions were 40-17 under his direction which included a 13-1 season in 2014. Additionally, Justice led Concord to two conference championships and two NCAA Division II playoff appearances. On Justice’s watch 84 players were named All-West Virginia Athletic Conference or All-Mountain East Conference selections while two athletes earned Defensive WVIAC Player of the Year accolades in addition 18 All-Region selections and eight All-American honorees were named.
His 2015 squad had 11 players earn Mountain East Conference honors and two All-Region recognitions. He coached the top-offensive lineman in the MEC who led a unit that allowed the fewest sacks in the league and made way for the program’s running back to set the all-time rushing record. His defense finished the season No. 2 in total defense.
In 2014, the Mountain Lions won the most games in school history (13) while also making an appearance in the national semifinals. Under Justice's guidance, CU won its first playoff games in school history, defeating West Chester (51-36) and Bloomsburg (32-26) which gave Concord its first Super One Region Championship. Not only did Concord set school records in wins (13), but Justice also was named Mountain East Conference Coach of the Year. It was his second league coach of the year award in four seasons at Concord. Justice coached the offensive line at Concord and tutored two All-American linemen in Rustin Mayorga and Coleman Osborne. All five of Justice's linemen earned all-conference during the 2014 season while paving the way for MEC Offensive Player of the Year Calvinaugh Jones.
The 2013 season was a showcase of what would come. Concord went 8-3 and narrowly lost out on winning the inaugural MEC title and earning a playoff bid. Concord tallied three-year highs under Justice on offense in points per game (26.6) and rushing yards per game (167.9). Just as impressive was Justice’s defense which posted three-year lows in points allowed per game (14.2), rushing yards allowed per game (108.4) and passing yards allowed per game (159.7). His Concord teams exceled in all phases of the game defensively as well with a No. 3 national rank in four categories and two players earned All-American honors for their efforts. Special teams held a No. 6 national mark.
In 2012, Justice’s second season in Athens, Concord registered a 7-4 overall record and a 6-2 mark in the WVIAC. In Justice’s first season as a head coach (2011), he led Concord to its first WVIAC title since 1990 as well as the school’s first appearance in the NCAA Division II playoffs after CU finished 7-4 overall and 7-1 in WVIAC competition and he was named the 2011 WVIAC Coach of the Year.
A native of Gilbert, W. Va., Justice originally came to Concord in January of 2009 as the offensive line coach and strength & conditioning coordinator. Justice played a prominent role in Concord’s remarkable turnaround after its 0-11 season in 2008. In 2009, Justice’s first year on the CU staff, the Mountain Lions went 6-5. In 2010, Concord was 8-3, winning eight games for the first time in 19 years.
Prior to his arrival in Athens, Justice spent two seasons at Florida State as an offensive graduate assistant, offensive videographer, and weight room graduate assistant. Justice helped develop four freshmen All-Americans and two All-Atlantic Coast Conference performers. In his two seasons with the Seminoles, FSU was 16-10 overall. The offensive line provided protection for running backs who gained more than 2,300 yards on the ground with 27 TDs in 2008 and tallied more than 1,600 yards in 2007 with 12 TDs. The passing game covered 2,500 yards in 2008 and 3,143 in 2007. The line allowed an average of less than two sacks per game. He completed his master’s degree from Florida State in sports administration in 2008. While at FSU, Justice was a member of two bowl staffs. The 2007 team fell to Kentucky in the Music City Bowl and downed Wisconsin in the 2008 Citrus Bowl.
Justice began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at West Virginia in 2006 where he worked with the offensive line and helped Dan Mozes win the Rimington Award as the nation’s best center. The 2006 Mountaineers finished their campaign with an 11-2 record. The line provided protection for a running back corps that rushed for nearly 4,000 yards and tallied 48 scores. The passing game recorded 15 touchdowns and nearly 1,700 yards through the air and downed Georgia Tech in the Gator Bowl.
“I’m excited to introduce Garin as Florida Atlantic’s offensive line coach,” said Partridge. “He brings experience from the highest level as a player and as a coach. He also has been part of an amazing turn around at Concord.”
Justice was a three-year starting offensive tackle for West Virginia University and served as team captain in 2005 for a Mountaineer squad that went 11-1, defeated Georgia in the Sugar Bowl and ranked No. 5 in the season-ending AP Poll. He earned All-Big East honors and was a Sporting News second team All-American for his efforts. Justice also was the Big East Football Scholar-Athlete of the Year. He graduated from West Virginia in 2006 with a Regents Bachelor of Arts degree.
Justice and his wife, Casie Coughlin Justice, have one daughter, Juliet.
- Katrina McCormack