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Oliver W. Johnson photo
Oliver W. Johnson photo
Oliver W. Johnson
Hometown: Hattiesburg, MS
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Championship baseball and basketball coach William Oliver “O.J.” Johnson roamed high school basketball courts and baseball diamonds in Mississippi for 32 years at McCullough High in Monticello, Earl Travillion High in Hattiesburg, and North Forrest High. O. J. hails from Hattiesburg and was an All-Big Eight point guard at L. J. Rowan High who was named to the school’s hall of fame. He served as captain of the Alcorn basketball squad where he earned his college degree. Coach Johnson began his 32-year career in 1961 at McCullough High in Monticello as an assistant baseball coach and took on the same position at Earl Travillion High in Hattiesburg. O. J. moved to North Forrest again as an assistant but was named head coach after two seasons. Coach Johnson would lead the North Forrest program for the next 19 years as his teams racked up an incredible record on the basketball court and the diamond. Out of 498 baseball games, his teams would win 387 games and lose only 111 for a winning mark of 80%. O. J.’s teams won 7 Pine Belt Conference titles, 11 district crowns, had 2 south state runner-up finishes, 4 South State titles, and 4 state championships. His North Forrest baseball squads set the state record for most consecutive state championships as they captured state crowns in 1983, 1984, 1985, and 1986. Coach John’s basketball squads were just as formidable with 141 wins and only 49 losses for a 74% winning mark. Under his guidance, the North Forrest boys’ hoops teams won 2 Pine Belt Conference championships, 1 district crown, 1 district runner-up finish, a south state semi-finalist and a south state runner-up. For his coaching feats, O. J. was named Pine Belt Conference Coach of the Year on 6 occasions, Clarion Ledger/Jackson Daily News Coach of the Year in 1983, and Hattiesburg American All Area Coach of the Year from 1983 through 1985. He was an All-Star baseball coach selected by the Crossroads Diamond Club in 1986. Coach Johnson gave back to his profession and the MAC by serving as vice president from 1987 to 1988 and President from 1988 to 1989. He also served on the MAC Board of Directors and was a four-time chairman of the MAC Baseball Committee. O. J. was active in his community as a member of the St. Paul United Methodist Church and the Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity.