Former Wabash Basketball Coach Dies at 88

by Jim Amidon

April 21, 2005

William S. Johnson Sr., basketball coach at Wabash for three seasons in the late 1940s, died Tuesday at Clark Memorial Hospital in Louisville, Kentucky. He was 88 years old.

He was born May 29, 1916, in Utica, IN, the son of Frank and Mary E. Johnson. He was a member of First Presbyterian Church, American Legion Post #35 and a Navy veteran of World War II.

He was a basketball player for Jeffersonville High School, having graduated from there in 1935. He then played basketball at Indiana University from 1935- 1939 under coaches Everett Dean and Branch McCracken. He was the men's head basketball coach at Jamestown High School, Angola High School and Wabash College, an assistant coach at Indiana University under Branch McCracken, head coach at Jeffersonville High School from 1950-1957 and then athletic director there from 1957- 1962. He retired from teaching at Greater Clark County Schools in 1979. He was a 50-year member of the "I-Men's Club" at Indiana University and a member of Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame.

He coached basketball at Wabash for three seasons, from 1947 through 1950. He was 28-24 during his tenure with the Little Giants.

Besides his parents, he was preceded in death by his wife, Martha Jane Mode Johnson, and a granddaughter, Jennifer Nauer. He is survived by his sons, William S. Johnson Jr., of Louisville and Michael D. Johnson of Jeffersonville; daughter, Sara Jane Johnson Newman of Jeffersonville; two grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

His funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. Friday, April 22, 2005, at Scott Funeral Home's North Chapel, with burial in Walnut Ridge Cemetery. Visitation will be from 1-8 p.m. Thursday and after 9 a.m. Friday. Memorial gifts may be made to First Presbyterian Church Endowment Fund, 222 Walnut St., Jeffersonville, IN 47130 or Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame, One Hall of Fame Court, New Castle, IN 47362.

Published in The Courier-Journal on 4/20/2005.


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