Since 1975, through associations like Pop Warner Football, Boy’s Club League, and South Central Athletic, James Johnson has served as coach, friend and mentor to many young men in the Dallas area.
Johnson’s work focuses on inner-city youth growing up in impoverished, sometimes violent areas of the metroplex. The boys witness drug deals and violence in their neighborhoods on a regular basis and the challenge is to help them overcome the obstacles and find a path to a better way of life.
He strives to provide a safe place for the children, ranging from 4 to 12 years old, to spend their time and to serve as a stable, consistent adult role-model to them as well. Johnson and his team of volunteer coaches work to teach more than 80 boys a year individual responsibility, teamwork and dedication.
To the young men, Johnson’s mentoring has a tremendous personal impact, giving them hope, dignity, guidance and inspiration. His success stories include:
- The first African-American to quarterback at Rice University
- Four college graduates, two of which became Dallas Police Officers and two that were drafted by the National Football League
- Three young men that have returned to Dallas to give back to the community by working for the Dallas Housing Authority, assisting as a coach and mentor, and studying to become a minister
Currently serving as President and Athletic Director of the South Central Athletic Association’s West Dallas Vikings, Johnson organizes fundraisers, manages funds and heads up the Rules Committee to ensure that players and coaches have the equipment and fees necessary to keep their teams on the field and off the streets.
Johnson has a philosophy in that he does not ask that the mountains in his way be moved, he asks only for the strength to climb them. He works tirelessly to make that philosophy a reality for both himself and all of the young people he encounters.