MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Jerry Johnson, who coached men’s basketball at LeMoyne-Owen College for more than four decades, has died at age 102.
Current men’s basketball coach William Anderson says Johnson died Sunday morning.
“It is with a heavy heart that I make this post,” Anderson said in an Instagram post. “A true basketball legend and icon in Memphis Jerry C. Johnson has passed this morning.”
Johnson retired from LeMoyne-Owen College after spending 46 years as the men’s basketball coach. Johnson recorded 821 wins during his time as head coach.
Johnson was the first Black basketball coach to win a Division III national title. He was the only men’s basketball coach to ever bring a national championship title home to Tennessee.
On June 20, 2018, Mayor Jim Strickland helped celebrate Johnson’s 100th birthday by declaring the day “Coach Jerry Johnson Day” and holding a ceremony at City Hall.
Strickland released a statement on Johnson’s death Sunday morning.
“Coach had a great impact on the lives of his players and on our city. My condolences to his wonderful family,” Strickland said.
LeMoyne-Owen College also released a statement Sunday, saying in part, “While the LeMoyne-Owen College family mourns his passing, we also celebrate his life and his legacy.”
The college’s full statement is available below:
“He has impacted many of his former player’s lives,” said Athletics director Clint Jackson. “He instilled in me that to truly lead others, you must start with the end in mind, be strategic, be attentive to details, and to possess the skills to get others to do what you need them to do, even when they don’t want to do it.”