The new face in town

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 21, 2010

William Johnson wanted a change of scenery, and that’s exactly what he got.

For the past seven years, Johnson has been looking for ways to defeat the Pike Liberal Arts basketball teams, however, next season he will be the new face leading the charge for the Patriots.

The former Fort Dale Academy coach is now the new Patriot head coach, for both the boys and girls programs, which is what he did with the Eagles.

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“It’s all I have ever really known in the coaching ranks,” he said.

“You learn how to adapt (to coaching both teams). It does take a lot out of you during the season, but it is fun and very rewarding.”

Johnson, who is a native of Greenville, graduated from Fort Dale Academy.

He took over the head-coaching job for both Eagle basketball teams three years ago, before that, coaching as an assistant for four years.

This past season, he took both the boys and girls teams to the AISA state playoffs.

“(I felt) it was time for a change,” Johnson said.

“I was looking to have my own program – to be able to put my own stamp on it. (PLAS) is a growing school and Steven and I share the same views and beliefs. I am excited to go to a place and work with someone like that,” he added.

According to Athletic Director, and former girls head coach, Steven Kilcrease, this was a move several years in the making.

“I wanted to bring him in for about three years now, but it never seemed to work out,” Kilcrease said. “He came over here three or four weeks ago, we offered him the job and the next day he took it.”

Kilcrease said one of the reasons for the hire was the difficulty he faced in coaching both football and basketball back-to-back.

“I couldn’t spend the right amount of time needed with the girls at the beginning of the season,” Kilcrease said. “It was impossible and I wasn’t doing the girls right.”

But in the end, Kilcrease got the guy he wanted.

“(Johnson) brings in a lot of experience and he is used to winning,” Kilcrease said.

“He will be able to work with the players during the summer to get them ready for the season and most importantly, he really wants to take hold of the programs make them winners every season.”

While at FDA, Johnson was known for having teams that played tough defenses and that is the same mentality and philosophy he will be bringing to PLAS.

“We are going to play an up tempo style,” he said. “A lot of in your face defense and pressing.

“This school has enough athletes, on both teams, to win state championships. They are going to have to play hard, but if they do – we will be successful,” he added.

At PLAS, Johnson will be teaching science fulltime, which was another incentive, according to Kilcrease.

“I am extremely excited – it has been a long time since I have been this excited about something,” the coach said.