Legendary LeMoyne-Owen College basketball coach honored for 100th birthday

Legendary LeMoyne-Owen College basketball coach Jerry Johnson was honored for his 100th birthday by Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland at City Hall this morning.

100-year-old basketball coach Jerry Johnson shared with FOX13 fond memories of his 46 year coaching career at LeMoyne-Owen College.

Even the time he attempted to recruit Penny Hardaway.

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"What I did, I went over to Treadwell to talk with the principal and what the principal told me at that particular time is that we are going to try to get him into Memphis State. There was no need in me trying to get him,” Johnson said.

Wednesday, it was all smiles and appreciation at Memphis City Hall for the legendary coach.

"He's impacted so many of our student's lives. I don't think there will ever be another coach at LeMoyne-Owen like Coach Johnson,” President, LeMoyne-Owen College Andrea Lewis Miller said.

On Coach Johnson’s 100th birthday, Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland praised him by giving him a special citywide honor.

"I, Jim Strickland Mayor of the Great City of Memphis, do here by proclaim June 20, 2018 as Coach Jerry C Johnson Day in our entire city,” Strickland said.

Coach Johnson won more than 800 games during his 46-year coaching career and he remembers every one of them.

Coach Johnson retired from coaching at LOC in 2007.

Two athletic conferences named him coach of the year seven times.

The coach told me he may have missed out on coaching Penny but many of his player copied the NBA superstar's moves.

"We had some pretty good guards and they copied his passing,” Johnson said.

Out of Johnson's former players eight played in the NBA, seven coached college basketballs, and one even became the mayor of Memphis… Willie Herrington.

The NBA superstar Coach Johnson wished he could have gotten to play at LeMoyne-Owen more than 20 years ago…

Penny Hardaway will be the special guest at his birthday celebration tonight at the Holiday Inn on the UofM’s campus.