When it comes to coaches' wealth, this is a whole new ball game. America's richest coach isn't Bill Belichick, Mike Shanahan or Doc Rivers.
Jim Justice coaches girls' high school basketball in West Virginia. He's apparently pretty good at it, leading Greenbrier East of Lewisburg, W. Va., to his first basketball title. Greenbrier East rallied from a 10-point first-half deficit to beat Bridgeport 52-47 and take home the Class AAA crown.
Justice has been coaching at the school since 2001. He also happens to be on a list most everyone wouldn't mind landing.
Forbes' World Billionaires list ranks Justice as the 1,015th wealthiest person in the world with a net worth of $1.2 billion. The 60-year-old made his money on West Virginia coal. He inherited a $25 million coal and corn farming business from his father in 1993 and was able to build it into a cash cow. In 2009, Justice sold all of his company's West Virginia coal investments to Russian businessmen for $436 million in cash and $83.3 million in stock options.
Despite feeling good about being one of the 400 wealthiest Americans, Justice seemed more excited about his coaching win.
"It's actually an honor to be on (Forbes') list, maybe from the standpoint of achievement," Justice told the Register-Herald. "I've probably got a lot less (wealth) than people think, but I've got way, way more of real value in my life. Getting to coach in the championship game in the state tournament -- coaching a terrific group of girls -- now, that's worth plenty."
In addition to coaching the girls, Justice also coaches the boys team; he helped lead the guys to the West Virginia state quarterfinal this year.
At 6-7 and 350 pounds, Justice is bigger than his massive wealth, but he remains the everyman's billionaire. He spent $300,000 of his own money to install a sweet parquet basketball floor for Greenbrier East.
Despite being worth more than a billion dollars, Justice still lives in the same $200,000 home he and his wife purchased in Lewisburg back in 2001, the year he started coaching girls' high school hoops. He's buddies with NBA legend Jerry West and says his favorite restaurant is Applebee's. Oh yeah, he sent his kids to public school.
Justice is also the president of his community's local Little League, a position he's held for nine years.
Follow Ben Maller on Twitter @BenMaller.
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