College Hoops’ Unlikeliest Coaching Tree

Linked below is a fantastic read by Rob Dauster of NBC Sports on former Emory & Henry coach Bob Johnson. Johnson passed away in 2009 after winning 370 games at Emory & Henry, a tiny Division 3 school tucked away in the Appalachian Mountains in southwestern Virginia. More than the games he won at Emory & Henry, Johnson’s legacy is the unlikely coaching tree he spawned with 5 of his former assistants currently serving as Division I head coaches. I’ve had the pleasure of working under one of them (Army’s Jimmy Allen worked and played for Johnson) for the last year and I can’t tell you how often Johnson’s name comes up in our staff meetings (though I’ve yet to see Jimmy give the “medicine ball slides” a try like Johnson did). Fantastic story on the impact a coach can have on his players, his assistants, his community and the coaching world.

Two seasons were all you were afforded by Johnson. You entered the program, you gave him everything you had and he taught you everything he knows. Then he would send you on your way. He did this at the detriment to his program. Continuity is key at any level, but particularly in Division III, where budgets are small, scholarships don’t exist and the athletes compete because of their love for the game and their loyalty to their teammates. Putting that much time and energy into molding a kid into a capable assistant coach is not an easy endeavor, not when the process begins anew every 24 months. But that’s the way Johnson worked.


For more on coaching trees:
-Parcell’s Coaching Tree as Sturdy as They Come (LINK)
-The Man Who Helped Make Pop…And Me (LINK)
-Pitino Coaching Tree Might be Strongest Yet (LINK)

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