Johnson remembered as a mentor who always put kids first

Published 2:33 pm Monday, July 17, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...


Contributing writer

People associated with the local sports community and elsewhere shared their reactions to the death of longtime Harrodsburg football and track and field coach Alvis Johnson:

Email newsletter signup

“Mercer County Football is deeply saddened at the passing of Coach Alvis Johnson. Coach Johnson was a true pillar of our community and the perfect example of the values our program desires to instill in young men. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Johnson family.”

— Statement from Mercer County football


“We suffered a major loss with the passing of Alvis Johnson. A pillar of the Harrodsburg community, he built an athletic dynasty. He was a role model, state leader, a coach who made people better for a living. Please join me in holding up his sweet wife and their family.”

— Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman, a Mercer County native


“Today I am deeply saddened by the passing of a great friend. Alvis Johnson was not only a mentor to me but a great role model for everyone he touched. 36 years ago he gave me the opportunity to be on his staff at HHS. We created many memories while we were there. Six years ago his son brought me back to the family at Woodford (County). All it took was one phone call to the man and it was a done deal. Alvis did more for me and my family than anyone can imagine. Rest in peace my friend.

— Keith Brown, former Harrodsburg and current Woodford County assistant football coach


“We lost a giant of a man today. But, his impact will live on in the countless lives he touched. Love you coach and thank you for how you loved us. Thank you for your example. To Mrs. Rosetta, Dennis, and Derrick, thank you for sharing him with us.”

— David Buchanan, former Mercer County and current Anderson County coach


“February of my Senior year in HS and I had 0 offers to play college football! I ran into Coach Johnson at a Danville H Burg basketball game that year and he was mad I didn’t have any college offers… the next day I get called out of class at DHS and (Western Kentucky coach) Jack Harbaugh … invited me down for a visit. Coach Johnson “made a call” and added me to his list of kids to help get into college!

I didn’t end up at WKU, but the point of making a call made an impact! I always said if I was ever to be a head HS coach, helping kids get opportunities to further themselves would trump “Championships.”

— Clay Clevenger, former Danville and current Somerset football coach


“My words could never capture the enormous impact and contribution of my beloved coach, Mr. Alvis Johnson. The Best of the Best. He was integral for shaping and refining the man you see today. His insight and vast knowledge regarding sports and all aspects pertaining to life was truly a treasure, worth more than gold. He challenged us to be better, greater than we even believed. His legacy is cemented. His story will forever live on in our hearts and lives. The most gratifying peace is that coach knew and loved the Lord. His spirit will forever remain in our memories and eternally with our heavenly father.”

— Jason Dunn, former Harrodsburg and NFL player


“I played at Garrard County in the ’90s. Harrodsburg was always a bitter rival – we always had tough, hard-nosed battles with them. Nonetheless, Coach Alvis Johnson was never anything less than a gentleman. He was a great coach … but an even better person.”

— Bret Baierlein, former Garrard County acting football coach and current Bourbon County coach


“Every time I pull into the stadium and I see that sign that says, ‘Welcome to Alvis Johnson Field,’ it always (hits me). There are times when it’s quiet and you’re looking around and you think about the house that A.J. built, and it definitely does something to you. All you can do is say, ‘Thank you, Lord, for bringing a man of such stature to this itty bitty town.’”

— Terry Yeast, former Harrodsburg football and track and field coach and former Mercer County track and field coach