Bob Johnson Leaves Lasting Imprint Extending Far Beyond Collegiate Arena

Bob Johnson coached Emory & Henry College men’s basketball for 27 seasons and spent three as athletic director.

How many former Emory & Henry men’s basketball players now in the coaching ranks does it take to make a full day of high school games?

E&H alumnus and Lord Botetourt boys head coach Andrew Hart has lined up at least 10 ex-Wasps for a one-day event in December.

Hart is one of 10 former E&H men’s players under the late Bob Johnson who is now a head coach of a VHSL program.

A conversation with fellow E&H grad Paul Redgate — the boys coach at Liberty Christian — sparked Hart’s idea for alumni spectacle, scheduled for Dec. 22 at Botetourt.

The other coaches committed to the event are Josh Cunningham (William Byrd), Mike Cartolaro (Parry McCluer), Patrick Bailey (Narrows), R.J. Spelsberg (Monacan), Steve Posey (John Battle), Preston Gordon (Goochland), Heath Bralley (Fluvanna County) and Casey Johnson (Altavista).

Casey Johnson is the son of Bob Johnson, who died in 2009 after leading E&H to 370 victories including trips to the Division III Sweet Sixteen in 1988 and 1993.

The matchups have yet to be determined.

Hart said there are 12 former E&H players working as a VHSL head coach. The list also includes ODAC career scoring leader Kevin Brown (Mountain View) and Brett Pearman (Hickory).

“The schedule is still a little bit up in the air because of travel and timing and adjusting to different things,” Hart said.

Hart wants the event to continue beyond 2020.

“Our hope is to turn it into a scholarship fund and have a small scholarship for a prospective Emory & Henry student from one of our schools,” he said. “But we have to go through some hoops for that, and we still have to figure out if we can make any money off of it.

“We’re not really trying to make any money off it, but it’s hard to tell how many people will come up, of course with it being a Tuesday. Really it was just us trying to get together … and honor Coach Johnson a little bit.”

How about including a game between two former E&H players who are now Division I head coaches — Virginia Tech’s Mike Young and Army’s Jimmy Allen?

“In our gym, that would be good,” Hart said. “That would be an argument that we’d have to put in a shot clock.”

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