Gene Johnson (coach)

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Gene Johnson
Gene Johnson WSU.jpg
Johnson from the 1930 Parnassus
Sport(s) Football, basketball
Biographical details
Born 1902
Died 1989
Overland Park, Kansas
Playing career
? College of Emporia
? Emporia State
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1938–1942 Kansas Wesleyan
1928–1933 Wichita
1938–1943 Kansas Wesleyan
Head coaching record
Overall 19–16–9 (football)
160–59 (basketball)
Accomplishments and honors
1 KCAC (1940)
Kansas Sports Hall of Fame

Gene Johnson (1902–1989) was an American football and basketball coach. Some sources list him as the head coach of the 1936 United States Olympic Basketball team[1] and other sources give that honor to Jimmy Needles and state that Johnson was the assistant coach.[2] His innovations in basketball include being credited with creating the full court press.[3]


Wichita University[edit]

In 1928, at the age of 26, Johnson was named head coach at Wichita University (now called Wichita State University) in Wichita, Kansas. Johnson's teams compiled a record of 74 wins and 24 losses in his five years as head coach of the "Shockers". He led the Shockers to a Central Intercollegiate Conference co-championship in 1933 (his last season at the school) and the team finished second three times and third once.[4]

McPherson Globe Refiners (AAU)[edit]

After coaching at Wichita University, Johnson left for a coaching career in the Amateur Athletic Union, coaching the McPherson Globe Refiners to a national title and later coaching the Wichita Vickers.

USA Olympic Basketball[edit]

Johnson was an assistant coach of the first United States Olympic basketball team in 1936. Several of his players in his AAU teams, including his brother Francis Johnson.[clarification needed]

Kansas Wesleyan[edit]

In 1938, Johnson went to Kansas Wesleyan University to become the head basketball coach. He led the team to several conference championships and as of 2005 holds the second-most wins for a single season at the school.[5]

College football[edit]

Johnson was the tenth head football coach at Kansas Wesleyan, serving for five season, from 1938 until 1942, and compiling a record of 19–16–9. [6]

In 1940, the team was declared conference champions of the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference by outscoring their opponents for the season 131 to 46 and by winning every home game.[7]

Head coaching record[edit]


Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs
Kansas Wesleyan Coyotes (Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference) (1938–1942)
1938 Kansas Wesleyan 2–5–1 1–3
1939 Kansas Wesleyan 2–2–4 2–2–2
1940 Kansas Wesleyan 6–1–2 5–0–1
1941 Kansas Wesleyan 4–3 4–2
1942 Kansas Wesleyan 5–4–2 3–2–1
Kansas Wesleyan: 19–16–9 15–9–4
Total: 19–16–9
      National championship         Conference title         Conference division title or championship game berth


  1. ^ Topeka Capital-Journal "Foster among inductees" By Kevin Haskin, May 23, 2004
  2. ^ The golden age of amateur basketball: the AAU Tournament 1921-1968 By Adolph H. Grundman, page 47
  3. ^ Wichita State University Archived 2011-07-18 at the Wayback Machine. Gene Johnson (Basketball Coach, 1928-33)
  4. ^ Kansas Sports Hall of Fame[permanent dead link] Gene Johnson
  5. ^ Kansas Wesleyan University 2005 Basketball Media Guide.
  6. ^ College Football Data Warehouse Archived October 14, 2012, at the Wayback Machine. Kansas Wesleyan Coyotes coaching records
  7. ^ College Football Data Warehouse Kansas Wesleyan University Football Results - 1940