By Meredith Kane
As a member of the first Buccaneer men’s basketball teams during the 1984-1989 seasons, Ron Johnson left his mark as the highest scorer in Barry history with 1,725 total points. However, it is the mark he continues to leave at other schools that which Johnson is most proud.
Ever since graduating from Barry as part of the original sport management class, Johnson has had a hand in sculpting various athletic and educational programs up and down the East Coast. While at school, Johnson first interned with the Miami Heat when there was no Miami Heat team. Still in its earliest stages, Johnson had the opportunity to be a part of the planning and development of what is a now a world champion organization.
“Working for the Heat organization really opened my eyes to the different types of jobs out there,” Johnson remembered.
From that point to the present, Johnson has found himself in a position to improve the schools where he has worked. Aside from previous assistant coaching positions, Johnson was the dean of students and the head of basketball at Benjamin School in Palm Beach, Fla., where he and his team—including former Buccaneer Nick Long—were state champions.
After Benjamin, Johnson headed up north and launched the physical education curriculum at the SEED School of Washington, D.C., a college prep boarding school.
“The move to SEED allowed me the chance to share my knowledge and develop a comprehensive, structured set of classes for current and future generations of children,” Johnson explained.
For the last three years, however, Johnson has been the athletic director and varsity men’s basketball coach at Cannon School in North Carolina, an independent pre-K-12th institution. When Johnson first started at Cannon, their physical education programs were in a primary stage and he helped develop these programs, setting new boundaries and creating a consistent pace for growth. Johnson’s goal is to continue expanding the program, which already includes a first-ever varsity boys state basketball championship.
“I like what I’m doing and I know there are so many opportunities for us to continue our development,” Johnson explained.
Johnson’s desire to grow other programs stems from his time at Barry where his experiences, academic work, and social interactions all contributed to his own personal growth. For instance, coming down to Miami from New Jersey, Johnson was exposed to so much diversity.
“Being around a diverse student population allowed me the chance for social growth and maturity,” Johnson said. “To this day, knowing how to interact and deal with people helps me do my daily job.”
Johnson’s pattern once he has come to a school and contributed to its growth has been to continue to look for new and different opportunities elsewhere. However, Johnson will always be grateful for his opportunities at Barry.
“I am really happy about the chance to attend and graduate from Barry. In the years since I’ve left, I’m very proud of the way the school itself has grown and achieved so many successes,” Johnson remarked.
One such success was simply the completion of the gymnasium. Back when Johnson played for Barry, the basketball teams had no home court as the Health & Sports Center had not yet been built.
“I remember when the land where the gym sits was a wide open field with only sand and grass. Now look what’s on it,” Johnson said.
Since he left Barry, there have been so many changes, both within the school and with him. But one thing is for sure: Johnson has left his mark for all to see. Just ask the hundreds of students he has already affected. One has to wonder, what will Johnson’s hands touch next?
It’s sure to be gold.