John Henry Johnson
John Henry Johnson enters his 18th year as one of the top assistant coaches in the nation. He works specifically with USC's sprinters and is the team's strength coach, but it is his prowess on the recruiting trail that has been the most instrumental in putting Troy back on the map.
Each of USC's past 16 men's and women's recruiting classes have ranked among the best in the nation, with the 2011 women's class ranking No. 3, 2010 men's class ranking No. 3 and the 2010 women's class ranking No. 5 according to Track & Field News. The 2009 recruiting class included the No. 1 men's recruit in the nation in Reggie Wyatt and the women's class including Alitta Boyd and Lauren Chambers. In 2008, they were ranked No. 5 and No. 3 respectively. In 2007, the men's class was rated No. 2 and the 2006 women's recruiting class was tabbed No. 1 by Track and Field News. Johnson has brought into the Trojan fold such superstars as Jerome Davis, Lionel Larry, Ahmad Rashad, Felix Sanchez, Denis Kholev, Charles Lee, Ryan Wilson and Julien Kapek on the men's side, and Angela Williams, Natasha Danvers, Brigita Langerholc, Grezyna Penc and Inga Stasiulionyte on the women's side. His extensive knowledge of the world amateur track scene--bouyed by a degree in international relations--has proved invaluable to USC and has established Johnson as perhaps the preeminent recruiter of foreign track and field athletes in the last quarter century.
Johnson has coached USC's last six sprint All-Americans, with Ahmad Rashad placing second in the 100m dash in 2009 with the fourth-fastest time ever by a Trojan. Rashad also earned All-American honors in the 200m in 2007. In 2006, senior Philip Francis captured All-American honors in the 100m, as did Sultan McCullough in 2000 and Jason Shelton in 1996. In the 200m, Charles Lee was an All-American in 1998 and 1999. Sprinter Wes Felix won back-to-back Pac-10 200m titles in 2004 and 2005--the first Trojan to do so since the late 1970s. Felix also placed second in the 100m race at the 2005 NCAAs.
In the 2006 season, not only did Francis gain All-America honors in the 100m, but the entire sprint crew excelled. At the NCAA West Regional Gary Jones won the 100m and set a meet record with a time of 10.23, tied for 10th all-time at USC. Francis placed second in the 100m and won the 200m. At the Pac-10s, Francis was a three-time winner, taking the 100m, 200m and was part of the meet-winning 4x400m relay team. For good measure, he also ran a leg in USC's second-place 4x100m relay team. In 2007, Rashad almost matched Francis' feat, winning the 100m, 200m and running a leg on USC's winning 4x100m relay team.
Johnson, who was a state champion in the decathlon for Ron Allice at Long Beach City College (1987), also earned All-Pacific-10 Conference honors while competing at UCLA. After surpassing the 7,000-point mark in the decathlon for the Bruins, he graduated with a degree in international relations in 1990.
A track and football star at West Technical High in Cleveland, Ohio, Johnson--who is the son of the late NFL Hall-of-Famer John Henry Johnson--became an assistant coach at Long Beach State from 1990-92, where he worked with sprinters and throwers. He also served as a strength coach for the 49ers.
In 1993, Johnson studied abroad, spending time in Mexico and Spain, as well as the Center for Intensive Language Studies in Costa Rica. His hobbies include writing, playing and recording music. All-American coached by John Henry Johnson at USC: