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Johnson has binders of letters from T-Girls thanking him for his contribution to their lives, b8t he has even more memories, and, with very little prompting, he will tell stories of games and especially players. "The thing I remember most are the kids," he said. "I remember each and every one and I can tell a story about every one of them."

Janelle Lombardi was a T-Girl, and is now a coach for Johnson. Her comments reflect the sentiments contained in the coach's letter collectio9n.

"Playing for coach Johnson was the most rewarding experience in high school as I look back on it today," she said. "As a teenage girl going through high school, basketball gave me an outlet. It gave me an escape, a place where I could let off steam and become who I am. Of course, I owe a considerable amount of that to my parents, but the other person that pushed me along to be a better player, a better coach, and a better person was Coach J. He taught me tough lessons through the sport. I learned to be a team player and what that really meant. I learned to be a leader. I learned time management and most of all, I learned that if you work hard, the payoff is worth all the blood sweat and tears it may have cost you along the way."

Now, as a coach, she said she is still learning.

"He is a unique individual that very few people understand, and he says I am one of them," she said. "While most days I feel I am on the same page as him, there are others where I feel like that young brown-eyed girl that used to stare at him during time outs thinking is this really possible? Now, today, I know it's possible as long as you have the 'want to.' His knowledge of the game is second to none. I continue to learn from him during each practice and game during the entire basketball season, and surprisingly enough, it still isn't just basketball that he teaches me."

Johnson makes special mention of the state team and the town's support and asks that any story include a thank you to all the parents and fans who have supported the T-Girls over the years.

Johnson coached almost every sport during his four decades at Petaluma High School. He was twice chosen the North Coast Section track coach of the year, and elevated the Petaluma cross country team from dormant to a North Bay League powerhouse. At one point, his cross country teams won 70 meets in succession.

"Before basketball, track and cross country were my babies," he said. "I loved coaching them."

This may be Johnson's last year of coaching, but he is not retiring to the life of a golf and leisure.

"There are a lot of things I still want to do," he said.

While coaching has been a huge part of his life, it hasn't been the most important part of his life. He reserves that for his family -#8212; wife Marie, son Jeff, daughters Jill Johnson Skoff and Diana French Johnson and his grandchildren Julia, Annie, Katrina and Nicholas.

But there is always that other family -#8212; the T-Girl family of more than a thousand when you count in all the kids he coached in high school, junior high school and National Junior Basketball.

"The kids are beautiful," he said. "They are so innocent and 100 percent honest."