Southern names former Olympian interim track coach
July 30, 2010
Southern University has announced that former two-sport athlete and 2008 USA Olympian, Brian Johnson, has been named Interim Head Track & Field Coach.
Johnson takes over after the resignation of interim head track coach, Tinnequo Lightfoot-Ross.
Ross had just completed her 10th year at Southern University and her first as interim head track & field coach. She took over the program after the long illness, and death of long-time SU Track Coach, Johnny Thomas. She previously served as an assistant coach for eight years.
"With our cross country student-athletes reporting next week, we needed to have someone in place as soon as possible", says Greg Lafleur, SU Athletic Director.
Johnson qualified for his first Olympic Team with his runner-up finish at the 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials, where he posted his best jump of the year. His 2007 season was highlighted by wins at Baton Rouge and Rethymno, where he had his best mark of the season of 8.31meters/27-3.25. He is currently the #2 ranked long jumper in the US, and 9th worldwide.
Johnson enjoyed a banner season in 2006, highlighted by victories at the AT&T USA Indoor and Outdoor Championships, and ending the season ranked #3 in the U.S. by Track & Field News. Three years after suffering a devastating knee injury, the former Southern University All-American became a world class long jumper when he captured the 2005 USA Indoor title, later that summer Johnson placed third at the USA Outdoor Championships with a leap of 8.09m26-6.5. That effort qualified him for a spot on the Team USA roster for the 2005 World Outdoor Championships in Helsinki, where he barely missed qualifying for the final.
Injured in April 2003, Johnson suffered two torn ligaments in his knee…Prior to his injury Johnson was the 2003 NCAA Indoor champion 8.28m/27-2. With the victory, Johnson joined former Southern standouts Theron Lewis and Rod Milburn as the only Jaguars to win titles in the 39-year history of the NCAA indoor meet. Johnson’s championship jump was, at that time, the nation’s leading performance and the third longest jump in the world, 27 feet. He later won the Black College National Championships in Bethesda, Md., and won the Texas Relays long jump with a leap of 26 feet, 5 inches. Unfortunately, on that winning jump he injured his knee and was out for the rest of the year.
Johnson earned his degree in Political Science in 2003 from Southern U. His wife, Pamela, is also a SU graduate and they have a son, Kobe.