High School Sports

February 19, 2013

Socastee’s Johnson named to South Carolina Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame

Tommy Johnson’s already impressive wardrobe may be getting another addition.

Tommy Johnson’s already impressive wardrobe may be getting another addition.

The Socastee boys basketball coach was named to the 2013 South Carolina Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame class, the organization announced this week. He will be inducted alongside former Andrews coach Ken Haselden, former Chapman girls coach Jane Ashworth and Lexington’s Bailey Harris.

The ceremony will take place March 15 in Columbia, one week after Johnson turns 61.

“Considering this is the last hall I ever make, I might have to go get another sport coat or suit,” Johnson said.

In January, Johnson was named to the Florence Sports Hall of Fame, an honor bestowed after the coach spent 30 seasons combined at Wilson and West Florence. With the latter, he coached the Knights to the 1986 Class AAAA state championship.

Johnson is also a member of the Beach Ball Classic Hall of Fame.

In total, he’s coached high school basketball for 38 seasons, in addition to two seasons at Moorehead State (Kent.). Johnson just finished his eighth season at Socastee, and he has no intentions of leaving any time soon.

Much like he did when initially announced to the Florence Hall of Fame late last year, Johnson pointed back to the kids he’s spent so much time coaching and teaching.

“It’s not about Xs and Os. It’s about Jimmys and Joes,” Johnson said, citing an old coaching adage. “I’ve been more fortunate with the Jimmys and Joes. It gets back to the players. I’ve had players Dean Smith couldn’t have won with, and had players people off the street could have won with.”

Haselden, the long-time Andrews coach, had similar feelings about the award.

He said after the initial excitement of the news, he started to think back about all the players he had worked with during an entire career spent at one school.

“It’s more icing on the cake,” Haselden said. “I would think the other things would be more important than this. This is a great personal achievement. As far as the camaraderie and helping the kids … I think that meant more to me than one single honor.

“Certainly, this is the highest honor.”

Haselden graduated from Andrews in 1973, and after college, he returned to the school to begin his teaching and coaching there. He took on the junior varsity girls program in 1979 before moving on to the varsity boys job three years later.

He led the Yellow Jackets to the Class AA state title in 1984 and again in 1995. His teams also won 10 region titles and played in five Lower State championship games.

Before retiring after the 2006-2007 season, he racked up an overall record of 457-217.

He’ll be entering the Hall with Johnson, and Haselden has no doubts his good friend will be decked out in something fancy.

“Knowing Tommy like I do,” Haselden said, “he’ll be dressed to the nines.”

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