Players young and old will always remember Coach Jack Johnson


Legendary football coach Jack Johnson has decided to call it quits after 41 years of successful years at C.M. Russell High School.

“Wow. What a surprise,” junior Alex Bennett said.

Bennett, along with fellow junior Kail Williams and freshman Peyton Mitchell, played football at CMR and have differing  views on Johnson’s departure.

“We’ll keep things rolling. CMR is built on tradition,” Bennett said.

He said the practices and games will be mostly the same, because of the tradition.

He remembers the first week of this past season when things we’re kind of a mess. Johnson came up to him and told him that he was starting varsity for the first time in his career.

“That was a big deal,” he said.

Bennett thinks Coach Gary Lowry will take over and knows that he will do a good job.

“He’s ready. He has played and coached here with Coach J for a long time,” he said.

To sum up the years at CMR for Johnson, Bennett said “Pride. Tradition. Dedication.”

Fellow junior football player Kail Williams will remember Johnson for the hard work he always pushed his players to do.

“I will never forget coach making us do Lombardis in the heavy snow,” Williams said.

The thought of Johnson leaving was an immediate shock, he said.

“My first thought was that he wouldn’t coach me as a senior. I think he wanted to get one more championship this year,” Williams said.  “He is the best ever”

While two older players knew Johnson directly, one freshman was only beginning to understand what Johnson meant to CMR.

Mitchell played for Coach Cislo on the freshman team.

“I see Coach J as an authority figure for the organization,” he said.

“He’s an amazing guy. I’ve heard so many things about him, and not one negative. Ever. I didn’t know him very much because I’m a freshman, but his legacy reverberates down to our teams. He’s almost the equivalent of a founding father for football here; just because he’s set up all that our program does,” Mitchell said.

“Coach Johnson may be leaving, but his values and practices will live on here at CMR for a very long time. The winning tradition is embedded into this school.”