ALEXANDER CITY, AL (WSFA) - Much like the weather Monday in Alex City, the mood was a dreary one as hundreds of students came to grips with the stunning loss of 24-year-old Curtis Glaize. Glaize taught business applications and served as an assistant football coach.
"His first year teaching.. only been in it since Aug. 1," said Benjamin Russell High School Principal Dr. Anthony Willkinson.
We'll never know what kind of teacher and coach Curtis Glaize could have become had he lived, but those who knew him during his short time at the time said he had great potential.
"He was a real good motivator," said sophomore Marcus Freeman.
In fact, Marcus Freeman recalled a man who had refined the art of pushing players like him to be their best, and picking up them back up without crushing them under the weight of criticism.
"On the days I messed up.. I'll feel bad on myself, he'll bring me up some more and keep my head up," Freeman remembered.
State Troopers say Glaize died early Sunday morning around 2:15 on state highway 77 in nearby Chambers County, 5 miles north of Lafayette. Glaize's pick-up left the road and struck a tree. No word yet on what caused the wreck.
"He was also going to be the bowling coach, too," said Dr. Wilkinson.
Benjamin Russell High School has had its share of tragedies; Five students have died in three years. Curtis Glaize's death is the only teacher at the school who's died in recent memory, according to school leaders. Whether it was in the classroom or on the field, Glaize was a leader.
"He was very good at what he did to be so young. He was one of those guys who was ahead," said head football coach Kevin Smith.
Curtis Glaize's death is not only shocking to the students but also to an English teacher at Benjamin Russell High School. The two had become engaged less than two weeks ago.
School leaders cancelled the junior varsity game Monday against Opelika, but the varsity match-up against Selma Friday night will be played as scheduled.