If any man has ever truly been a living legend it is Julius Conn, Virginia’s premier track and basketball coach at Newport News High School for over 40 years. A native of Newport News and one of seven children, Julie Conn spent 56 years in his city’s school system as student, athlete, coach and athletic director.
A diminutive distance runner and basketball player at the University of Virginia, he began coaching at Newport News High School in 1927. His basketball teams never missed playing the State Virginia High School League Tournament and they never lost a first-round game.
When he gave up basketball coaching in 1953, Conn’s teams had won State titles in 1931, 1938, 1942-43, 1951-52. The Typhoon also was South Atlantic champion his first year at its helm.
Newport News High School dropped track in 1931, but restarted it the next year under Conn, winning its first State title in 1934. In all, the Typhoon would race to 21 outdoor titles and in the last stages of his career which ended in 1969, Conn combines with Co-Coach Charlie Nuttycombe to lead Newport News High School to State titles in eight of his last nine years at the school.
Conn has been honored by numerous universities, clubs and coaches’ associations, topped by his 1968 recipient as the Coach of the Year by the National High School Coaches Association.
After Conn retired from the city’s school system, the Virginia Squires employed him in an administrative capacity. Conn is deceased but he will always be remembered as one of Virginia’s greatest sports legends.