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Putting some rumors to rest

There are a lot of rumors swirling around about Doug Johnson's retirement. I will never be able to put all the rumors to rest, but I can tell you what I know and what I believe to be the truth.

Johnson did meet with Petaluma High School administration officials last May to discuss concerns expressed by some parents. The meeting concluded with what I was told an understanding that this would be his last year coaching. That is not set in stone. I have been told point blank that Johnson would be welcome to coach girls basketball again next year if that was his choice. The meeting left, understandably, left some hurt feelings.

That is what I know. Everything else is speculation.

Johnson is old school. He believes in setting rules and having them obeyed, It doesn't matter if you are an All-Empire super star or the No. 12 player on a 12-player team. You obey the rules or you face consequences that can range from not starting to not playing at all. No alibis, no excuses, no reasons, no exceptions.

Johnson also tells you how he feels and what he believes. He pulls no punches. When I sat town and talked to him last week, he cited lack of attention from the media as a reason for the decline in basketball's popularity. "The coverage of basketball is atrocious," he said. "When I look in the paper I'm embarrassed. They're pushing basketball right out of the papers."

Did his comments sting? A little. Was he right? Absolutely.

Of course, when you stand on your principles and tell it like it is, you are bound to upset some people.

"Obviously, I haven't pleased everyone," Johnson said. "That's coaching, especially in this modern era.

While Johnson has had his critics, he has also earned the respect of other coaches, teachers, parents and especially of the hundreds of girls who still today proudly call themselves T-Girls.

Among many things, he taught them not only basketball, but also responsibility, respect for the game and themselves. He taught them that the team always comes before any individual consideration.


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