Thanks to his players and assistant coaches, former Smith-Cotton head football coach Mark Johnson will be inducted into the Missouri Football Coaches Hall of Fame.
The ceremony will take place Friday at the Tan-Tar-A Resort in Osage Beach. Johnson was told by the all-state coaches committee at the end of the 2014 football season he would be inducted. Johnson was nominated by Warsaw High School head coach Paul Thomas and former S-C assistant coaches Tom Ellis and Kevin Schnicker.
“It’s a great honor. My assistant coaches and players from over the years are the ones that won it for me,” Johnson said.
Johnson has more than 30 years of coaching experience. He started coaching in Iowa at Malvern High School and then went on to coach at Northwest Missouri State University, where he was an assistant coach for five years. Before coming to S-C, Johnson coached at Monett High School in Missouri where he turned a football program that had numerous losing seasons into a winning program. Johnson’s success caught the eye of Royal Patterson, an assistant at Smith-Cotton at the time. Patterson encouraged Johnson to take the job at S-C.
Johnson later accepted the position and went on to coach 15 seasons at S-C, where he became the winningest football coach in school history. Johnson won four conference championships, two district championships and coached the only S-C team to make it to a state quarterfinal appearance.
Johnson coached many players over the years and said, “I loved to see them every day and watch them develop from their freshman through senior years.”
Smith-Cotton senior football player Austin Jaekel, who started for Johnson on the offensive and defensive lines during the 2012 and 2013 seasons, said, “He had the ability to push you to do things that you didn’t think you could do.”
Over the years, Johnson also made many great relationships with coaches, including one of his former assistants, Ryan Boyer, who took over as Smith-Cotton’s head football coach after Johnson’s retirement after the 2013 season. Boyer, who coached with Johnson from 2009 through 2013, said, “He has always been a respectful and caring coach that had great work ethic.”
Boyer said Johnson taught him many different things and he credited Johnson with turning Smith-Cotton football around.
Johnson is now a physical education and health teacher at Whittier High School in the Sedalia School District 200. He is planning to retire at the end of this school year.
Jake Kindle is a student at Smith-Cotton High School.