Greensboro Day School Head Boys’ Basketball Coach, Freddy Johnson, Goes for Win #1,100
Greensboro Day School’s Boys Basketball Coach, Freddy Johnson, will go for milestone win #1,100 on Monday, February 1, 2021, when the GDS boys’ basketball team hosts Caldwell Academy in a conference match-up at 5:00pm at Greensboro Day School. Due to Covid protocols, no fans are allowed at the game. The game will be streamed live via the NFHS Network.
With the team’s next victory, Coach Johnson will become just the 8th high school boys’ basketball coach to reach the 1,100 career win milestone.
The Bengals are currently 19-5 on the season. With the next win, the Bengals will reach the 20-win mark for the 29th consecutive season.
The 20-21 Bengals are led by their deep backcourt including Jaydon Young ’23, Michael Zanoni ’22, Tyler Lundblade ’21 and Nik Graves ’22.
Top 10 All-Time High School Boys’ Basketball Coaches
1. Robert Hughes 1,333
2. Morgan Wootten 1,274
3. Steve Smith* 1,188
4. Bob Hurley 1,185
5. Gary McKnight* 1,161
6. Ralph Tasker 1,122
7. Richard Duease* 1,120
8. Freddy Johnson* 1,099
9. Bill Krueger 1,096
10. Charles Smith* 1,092
Coach Freddy Johnson
Freddy Johnson, a Greensboro native, has spent his entire coaching career at Greensboro Day School. Graduating from Grimsley High School in 1972 and Greensboro College in 1977, he furthered his education with a Master’s degree from North Carolina A&T State University in 1984. Johnson played basketball on the collegiate level for two years at Greensboro College, where he realized he wanted to coach basketball, gaining valuable experience for his life’s work coaching YMCA basketball teams.
Just out of Greensboro College, Johnson began volunteering with the Greensboro Day School basketball squad, and he was soon appointed Head Boys’ Varsity Basketball Coach at the relatively young independent school. One year later, he also became the Athletic Director. During his 40 years at GDS, the athletic program has grown to include over forty teams and 85% middle and upper school student participation. There have also been 170 conference and over 40 state championship teams during his tenure.
At GDS Johnson has compiled an overall record of 1,099-305, a winning percentage of 78.3%, and is the winningest coach in North Carolina high school basketball history. He has led the Bengals to a record 17 tournament championships at the HAECO Invitational, a premier tournament showcasing local high school teams in Guilford County, NC. He has coached teams to a record 11 state championships in the North Carolina Independent School Athletic Association (NCISAA) and was a finalist 8 other times. His teams have also won 27 championships in the Piedmont Athletic Conference of Independent Schools (PACIS) and Piedmont Triad Athletic Conference (PTAC), and Johnson has been the Conference Coach of the Year 24 times (PACIS and PTAC). He was the USA Today North Carolina Coach of the Year in 2015. He was named the 2017 National Coach of the Year by BallisLife. He has led 2 Bengal teams to the GEICO National High School Tournament (’15, ’17).
In April of 2020, he was recognized by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame with the prestigious Morgan Wootten Award for Lifetime Achievement in Coaching High School Basketball.
Johnson’s success at GDS has led to his selection as coach in seven all-star games, including the 2017 Jordan Brand Classic, the 2013 McDonald’s All-American Game in Chicago and the 1997 Capital Classic All-Star Game in Washington, DC.
He has been enshrined into the NC Gaters Hall of Fame (2006), Greensboro College Athletic Hall of Fame (2009) and Guilford County Sports Hall of Fame (2011), as well as being awarded the Charles N. Carter NCISAA Athletic Director Cup (2015) and the Greensboro College Alumni Excellence Award (2008) and the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame (2016).
A former player wrote, “The impact that you (Freddy Johnson) have had on my life and many other young men looms large. I wanted to let you know that your influence affected the direction of my life — in a very positive fashion. I think what I value most about our time together was that I was able to apply the principles that I learned from you in life itself, outside of athletics. I didn’t realize it at the time, but the hard work and teamwork you instilled in me would be something I would be able to use later in many life situations.”
Coach Johnson transcends basketball; he teaches not only the game but also life skills. His success in molding young men’s lives for over four decades is the major building block in Greensboro Day School’s basketball foundation.
Freddy Johnson and his wife, Mary Marr Dillard Johnson, have two children: Robert Johnson (McKinley) and Katherine Johnson Willingham (Davis); and two grandsons, Cross and Worth Johnson.
Greensboro Day School
Greensboro Day School is a PK-12 independent school located in Greensboro, North Carolina. The school was founded in 1970. The school’s mission statement states, “Greensboro Day School develops the intellectual, ethical, and interpersonal foundations students need to become constructive contributors to the world. The school’s guiding principles are as follows: Challenging and inspiring academic programs that support students in achieving their potential in college and life; a social and economically diverse community that honors and nurtures relationships among students, faculty, and community; extra-curricular opportunities that enrich the educational experience; and global perspectives that cultivate respect for other and promote stewardship of the environment.
Courtesy of Michael Sumner