COACH PAUL JOHNSON HONORED
Submitted by Phil Rogers
On March 8th eleven classmates met with Coach Paul Johnson at the Academy Officers and Faculty Club. In attendance were Phil Rogers, Dick Scott, Don Buhrer, Ben Moore, Bill Bass, Bill Barnes, Roger Carlquist, Tony Duncan, Charlie Heid, and Bob Smith. The occasion was to thank Coach Johnson, who through his coaching genius, put the Naval Academy into the national spotlight and in so doing gave alumni, midshipmen, sailors and marines cause for new pride and celebration.
The gift, presented by Phil Rogers, was a beautiful framed photograph of an Academy crest. This particular crest was one of the two that presently adorn the Visitor's gate. They were part of the Memorial Gate we presented to the Academy in 1986. The late Bill Wagner, who designed the gate and carved the wood mold from which the crests were cast, took the photograph. The photograph was presented to Mrs. Virginia Redd in 1986 in appreciation for funding the cost of casting the two crests. Upon her death, her estate returned the photograph to Phil Rogers. With the recent removal of our Memorial Gate these two crests are the last vestiges of the gate as we built it.
Prior to the presentation, Phil touched on the history of the gate, the pride that 48 felt about the gate and the sorrow felt over its recent demise. Phil focused on the place that '48 has at the Academy and how our presentation of the Academy crest photograph was an expression of the deep admiration and affection alumni hold for Johnson and his importance to the Academy. Coach Johnson was visibly pleased and followed his acceptance remarks by spending nearly an hour fielding great questions posed by the attendees. He covered his experiences during the last four years on and off the field, interactions with other coaches and institutions, and challenges with the players, both mental and physical. He even threw in a few personal anecdotes to the delight of everyone. The presence of running back Ben Moore and All American Dick Scott added a special aura to the meeting.
In a final bonding gesture, Dick Scott presented Coach Johnson with a '48 blazer crest with instructions that he consider himself an honorary member of the Class of 1948.
The small bronze plaque attached to the frame reads as follows:
To Coach Paul Johnson