| Wins against Kentucky - 0 | Losses against Kentucky - 2 |
Alma Mater: Georgia
Hometown: Rockford, IL
Date Born: April 23, 1911
Date Died: June 27, 1994
Overall Record: 184-191 [17 Seasons]
|12/22/1941||South Carolina at Kentucky||W||64 - 25||-|
|3/2/1939||Kentucky vs. Mississippi||W||49 - 30||SEC Tournament (at Knoxville, TN)|
Obituary - Columbia (SC) The State (June 29, 1994)
Frank Johnson was Former Coach at USC
Services for Frank W. Johnson Sr., 83, will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday at Ebenezer Lutheran Church, with burial in Greenlawn Memorial Park. Visitation will be from 7 to 9 tonight at Dunbar Funeral Home, Devine Street Chapel. Memorials may be made to the church capital appeals fund.
Mr. Johnson, husband of the late Margaret All Schoen Johnson, died Monday, June 27, 1994. Born in Rockford, Ill., he was a son of the late Fred and Hilda Johnson. He was a graduate of the University of Georgia and was a Navy veteran of World War II. He retired as vice president of placement at the University of South Carolina and was a former basketball coach with the University of Georgia and USC, where he also was a former freshman football coach and associate athletics director. He was a member of Ebenezer Lutheran Church.
Surviving are a son, Frank Johnson Jr. of Columbia; and three grandchildren.
Article - The State (June 30, 1994)
A Coach to Salute by Bob Spear
During Frank Johnson's coaching days at the University of South Carolina, college athletics generally filled their original purpose - a part of the education process.
Schools did not pour millions into games, and coaches had additional teaching responsibilities. Specialized dorms for players, huge stadiums and plush arenas would come much later.
Teams often played in relative obscurity, and they did not have to win conference and national titles to be deemed a success.
Against that backdrop, Johnson produced one of the most stirring seasons in USC basketball history.
His 1956-56 team ranked alongside Frank McGuire's best and football's Black Magic on the Carolina excitement chart.
Fans even broke down the doors of the old Carolina Field House to get a glimpse of the running-and-gunning Gamecocks, who took eventual national champion North Carolina into overtime early in the year and whose season finally ended in the championship game of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament.
Frank Johnson is the coach who turned Grady Wallace loose.
Grace and dignity. Frank Johnson died Monday, thankful for his 83 years on this good Earth.
Historians will find that only one other coach, McGuire, won more basketball games than Johnson at USC, and they forever will link Johnson with the Wallace team of 1956-57.
But there is so much more that has been lost on the yellowed pages of yesteryear.
A native of Rockford, Ill., Frank Johnson fashioned an All-American career at the University of Georgia. He won all-star honors in both football and basketball, and the Chicago Bears thought enough of his skills to offer him the then-unheard of sum of $100 a game to play in the NFL.
That's chicken feed now, but a hundred bucks represented a princely sum in those depression days, and late in life he liked to muse about the Bears' bid.
Instead of pro football, he turned to coaching - first a year at his alma mater, then two at Ole Miss before beginning a long love affair with the University of South Carolina.
His duties at Carolina included head basketball coach, associate athletics director and business manager, and director of the placement bureau and corporate support.
Through the years, he and his beloved Peg, his wife of 55 years who died in 1992, made an army of friends. They remember Frank Johnson for his grace and dignity and loyalty - a wonderful legacy.
Those who knew him only through sports will associate him with one of the school's finest athletics hours, and that, too, is a wonderful legacy.
March to the Finals. Johnson presided over Carolina's basketball fortunes from 1940 through 1958, excluding 3-1/2 years for service in World War II. His teams won 174 games, lost 175, which might not sound like much, "but he did extremely well with what he had.," Harry Parone says.
Parone, a long-time area high school coach, played baseball at Carolina, but he went out for basketball his senior year and earned a starting position. "We had few scholarships, no assistant coaches, a poor place to play," Parone says. "Coming from one sport and starting on another is almost unheard of now. To break even with such limited resources is quite an accomplishment.",P>Johnson coached two All-Americans - Jim Slaughter and Wallace. He took two teams to the finals of the conference championship tournament, his 1940-41 team in the Southern tourney and his 1956-57 team in the ACC tourney.
The latter team - with Wallace leading the nation in scoring and setting school scoring and rebounding records - went to the ACC tourney in Raleigh with a 5-9 mark against league foes. But they staged a marvelous rally to knock off third-seeded Duke, then whipped second-seeded Maryland before bowing to No. 1 North Carolina.
McGuire's teams with Roche and Owens and Riker and Joyce and Winters and English would turn the state upside-down a decade or so later.
Even so, that 1956-57 team, so exciting that fans broke down the doors to watch them bomb Clemson, owns a special place in Carolina history. So does their coach, Frank Johnson.
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