Everyone in Ridgewood is aware of who Coach Johnson is and even when you branch out into towns his names carries a legacy with it. Since 1984, Coach Johnson has been Ridgewood High School’s football coach and has carried with him a successful career consisting of seven New Jersey state titles. His team had back to back wins in 2018-2019, 2003-2004, and in 2016 his group had an undefeated season and tore through the New Jersey football scene and dominated in the area.
However, in 2019 a serious infection forced him into intensive care and his duty as Ridgewood’s head coach had to be placed on hold as he recovered. With the 2020 season not being confirmed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, one factor has been confirmed: Johnson’s retirement from his position. As news spread around Ridgewood and the North Jersey area, many current and former players, as well as friends and community members, began reminiscing about memories with Johnson. Junior Ryder Langsdale comments that Johnson’s impact on both his football and personal lives has been immensely significant and quotes that Johnson, “was like a 3rd Grandfather to me.”
Other players have also felt the impact of Johnson’s coaching and attribute the team’s success to his dedication to each player and pushing them to their best possible state. While talking to two other juniors, Sean Emmanuel and Jake Petzold, it was evident that Johnson also had a strong sense of humor and they discussed back and forth about hilarious comments and moments during their seasons.
Coach Johnson’s consistent hard work and immense care for the sport is seen throughout North Jersey and is displayed by his numerous victories and talented players who have moved on to play college football at some of the nation’s best schools. While Johnson’s health condition may have taken him out of his position as head coach his legacy will always remain at Ridgewood High School. Many students who did not even play football quote hilarious moments with Johnson as their gym teacher or even during a casual conversation. Johnson was invested in the school and wished to see every student and player succeed and reach their fullest potential.
Although he may be leaving the football scene he will always remain as one of Ridgewood’s most memorable staff members and coaches. Many players have said that even though he is not returning as head coach they will continue to work hard and succeed in remembrance of Johnson, and those who have had the pleasure of working with him will know that his presence still remains both on and off of the field.
Graphics Illustrator: Nicole Kye