Tommy Johnson, the new boys' basketball coach at Bryan Station, got an enthusiastic endorsement from Scott Chalk, whom he played for at Frankfort and served under as an assistant coach at Franklin County.
"Tommy has always been a tremendous person, a conscientious person, who has a real heart for trying to help African-American young men develop into the right kind of people," Chalk said. "He's a great role model.
"He's a dynamite coach, too. He's always had a good basketball mind — he started at point guard for me as an eighth-grader — and he's the kind of guy humble enough to keep learning. He's a real student of the game."
Johnson, 32, became Franklin County's head coach two years ago after Chalk left for Paul Laurence Dunbar.
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The Flyers went 9-17 in Johnson's first year. They had a 15-13 record this past season and lost to Madison Central 75-72 in the first round of the region tournament.
Johnson, 32, succeeds Mike Allen at Bryan Station. Allen had a four-year record of 57-59 with the Defenders.
"Tommy's an outstanding young man. We're really excited to have him," Bryan Station principal Mike Henderson said.
"Mike did a good job, but we're going in a different direction with our program."
Johnson's excited to be taking over the Defenders.
He said several things appealed to him about Bryan Station, including the school's "sense of community" and the program's "great tradition.
"I've always been impressed by how they've been able to produce players that go on to play at the college level and the NBA," he said.
"I jumped at the chance to coach those kind of kids, try to motivate them and push them to become big-time players like Shelvin Mack."
Johnson thinks the Defenders' talent level should make them "district and region contenders every year."
Bryan Station is in the same district as Henry Clay, Scott County and Sayre. Johnson noted that Henry Clay and Scott County met in the 11th Region finals this year, and Scott County went on to finish as state runner-up.
"So we know it's going to be tough. We need to get to work to be able to compete with those guys."
Johnson was a multi-sport star at Frankfort. He scored 1,380 points in basketball, and he was an accomplished quarterback in football. He went on to play football at EKU for two years.
Johnson was an assistant at Franklin County for six seasons under Chalk, and at Lafayette for one year under Mike Mendenhall III before becoming head coach at Franklin County.