KINGSTON — Who would have thought Kingston High School would find its newest basketball coach 2,734 miles away? According to MapQuest, if a motorist was to make the drive it would take them 40 hours and seven minutes to complete the trek between Stone Mountain, Ga. and Kingston, Wash.
Even so, Stone Mountain High School boys basketball coach William Johnson recently was hired to head up the Kingston boys hoops program in the fall, when the school opens its doors for the first time during the 2007-08 school year.
Johnson isn’t fazed by making the move across United States.
“My family and I decided to open my job search to anywhere in the United States. Prior to becoming a coach, I was in the military so I’ve been to so many different places,” Johnson said. “I saw the opening (at KHS) and applied for it. We stayed in the area for three or four days after I was interviewed. Washington is the same beautiful place I remembered from when I was there while I was in the Army.”
The climate of the Pacific Northwest attracted Johnson and his family to the area as well.
“The weather change in Washington will be nice,” he said. “It’s so hot in the Atlanta area. I really enjoyed my time in Kitsap County during the interview. I am pretty excited.”
Kingston Athletic Coordinator Dan Novick is happy to welcome Johnson into the fold.
“We were very impressed with William in the interview. He has a wealth of experience and has a vision for what he wants the basketball program to be like down the road,” Novick said. “He possesses a great work ethic and has high moral standards. He just has a great background.”
The 43 year old has 15 years of coaching experience, 12 years as head coach between Cross Keys High School and Stone Mountain High School and three years as an assistant at Marist School in Atlanta. He has also compiled a 79-34 overall record as a head coach over the years.
Stone Mountain, a school of 1,400 students, faces some of the best prep basketball programs in the United States.
“Two of the teams we played against in our region were ranked in the top 12 in the nation,” Johnson said. “Two of my players from last year’s team will be playing in college (Virginia Tech, College of Charleston) this coming year.”
Kingston will feature high octane attack offensively as well as defensively this winter.
“We’re going to push the ball. We’re going to be a running team,” Johnson said. “My team (Stone Mountain) averaged 76 points a game last year and that’s without a shot clock. Teams can hold the ball for as long as they wanted to, and we still were able to run on them.”
Johnson said the fast paced attack will leave an impression on fans when they leave the gym after a game.
“I am really looking forward to it,” he said. “We’re going to be an enjoyable team to watch. The goal is to turn Kingston High School into a basketball powerhouse.”
Novick has no doubt that Johnson is the right man for the job.
“I like coaches with confidence and he has that confidence,” he said. “I had the opportunity to speak with Marist’s head coach Ron Bell (Johnson was an assistant at Marist for three years between 1995-1998). He said Johnson was one of his top assistants and spoke volumes of him. He said that William was a key part of their program. Marist is in Atlanta and is one of the top 25 basketball programs in the country.”