A.K. Johnson, the cross-country and track and field coach at T.C. Williams for over 20 years, will be inducted into the Virginia High School Hall of Fame Oct. 13 in Charlottesville. Johnson is part of a six-member class that includes Petersburg boys basketball coach William W. Lawson Jr. and the late Samuel Woods, who coached tennis at Jefferson High in Richmond before his death in 1963.
Johnson retired from coaching in 1993 and took over as the Alexandria school's athletic director. Johnson's track and cross-country teams combined to win nine Group AAA titles, 20 Northern Region crowns and 22 district championships.
"This is an honor not only for me but for all the kids I worked with in the community," Johnson said.
Johnson coached cross-country from 1980 to 1993 and headed the indoor and outdoor track programs from 1984 to 1993. T.C. Williams's boys teams swept the cross-country, indoor and outdoor state track titles from 1991 to '93.
Abingdon High speech coach Jennifer Bradley, Roanoke area radio announcer James Carroll and Larry Pence, a former basketball coach and athletic director at Turner Ashby High, also will be inducted under the category of contributors. No athletes are being inducted this year.
The Virginia High School Hall of Fame is sponsored by the Virginia High School League and the Virginia High School Coaches Association. Athletes are eligible 20 years after the completion of high school, while coaches can be considered after 25 years' experience.
During informal practices with Potomac School's football players and coaches this summer, Potomac Athletic Director Rob Lee realized the team might be better off with a new coach.
He would know--the old coach was Lee.
Lee had compiled a 24-29 record in six seasons, but throughout summer workouts saw how well assistant William Hoehn, a former assistant at East Tennessee State University, worked with the players. So Lee decided to ask Hoehn to become coach, and demoted himself to assistant.
"I was afraid we might lose William to another offer, and he really is too good to lose," Lee said. ". . . Even though I enjoyed coaching, I thought it was a good decision to let him take over; he really knows a lot more than I do about the game."
Hoehn had spent two seasons as an assistant varsity and head junior varsity coach at Potomac School after coaching at East Tennessee for two seasons.
The East Coast Invitational, the largest independent track and field meet in the nation, will be run locally for the last time Friday through Sunday at Walt Whitman High in Bethesda. Next summer, the meet will be run by Frank Davis of the Durham Track and Field Club at Duke University.
"We wanted to run [a meet] so the local kids could run at home" during the summer, said meet director Bob Rothenberg, who along with his wife, Anne, started the event in 1975 while they were teaching at Fairmont Heights.
Rothenberg said he expects 2,500 to 3,000 athletes in age divisions from 8-and-under to 17- and 18-year-olds. The meet will feature more than 500 races, not including field events, with a full track meet for every age group.
One highlight should be the boys 17-18 400 meters, in which Centreville's Rickey Harris will run against Northwestern's James Graham. Graham, an All-Met, will attend Georgetown in the fall; Harris, the two-time All-Met Athlete of the Year, is a rising senior. The 400 final is scheduled for 2:10 p.m. on Sunday. Harris will be running for the first time since his successful performance at the Junior Pan American Track and Field championships at the University of South Florida in Tampa, July 10-11.
Harris ran the second-fastest time of his career at the prestigious meet, winning the 400 hurdles in 50.56 seconds. His best time--50.28--came last month at the junior nationals in Denton, Tex.
Special correspondents Christian Swezey and Bryan Tucker contributed to this report.