John Johnson is a man for all seasons at Cal State Dominguez Hills--golf coach and the veteran member of the athletic department, teacher, fund-raiser, author and raconteur.
Now Johnson is about to become a man for all continents.
Johnson, a former college football star who was most valuable player in the first Hula Bowl and is now on that annual game's committee, later helped organize the first football exhibitions in Japan. This summer, he will join former Rams Coach Ray Malavasi in picking and coaching an Australian national football team that will tour Japan and Europe.
Starting in July, Johnson and Malavasi will run a football camp for about a month--Malavasi handling the offense, Johnson the defense.
The hectic itinerary calls for the team to make a whirlwind tour in October, playing two games in Japan, three in Great Britain, then games in Paris, Amsterdam, West Germany, Innsbruck, Milan and Zurich. At one point the team will play six games in 12 days, rugged even by Australian standards.
"I don't know about that. I think they're thinking of it like rugby," Johnson said. "But it shows how big football is becoming in the rest of the world."
Johnson's Australian connection is Randy Trudgen, an Aussie who tried out for the Rams several years ago as a kicker. He's now a travel agent, and when he crossed paths with Johnson he suggested the tour. Johnson suggested Malavasi as a logical choice for coach.
Johnson, author of "How to Watch Football," and Malavasi are also trying to put together an old-timers game in Tokyo and said response from retired players has been favorable. "In all those places American football has become very big," Johnson said.
This summer, Johnson is collaborating with golfer J. C. Snead and Pierce College Athletic Director Bob O'Connor on a book dealing with the fundamentals of golf and stressing its mental aspects--concentration, relaxation, visualizing shots, strategy and how to practice.
Johnson said Snead, nephew of golfing great Sam Snead, "probably practices as much or more than anybody on the tour." He won the Westchester Open over the weekend.
A handful of South Bay athletes are on the CIF list as their schools' student-athletes of the year, which means they maintained grade-point averages of at least 3.5 while playing varsity sports.
At Bishop Montgomery, volleyball-softball player Julie Siskowic carries a 3.7 average. Mary Star of the Sea award winners are volleyball-softball player Lorraine Fiamengo (3.88) and football-baseball player Michael Duran (3.88). North Torrance award winners are track runner Christina Okawa (4.0) and football-baseball player Tom Button (3.63).
Palos Verdes honorees are tennis player Kari Lynn Murnane (3.88) and runner Jeffrey Asch (3.85). South Torrance award winners are tennis player Kim Ondreck and soccer player Eric Christenson, both with 4.0 grades.
Palos Verdes' girls cross-country team also captured an academic team award with the best grade-point average in its sport--3.63.
All eight of the sophomores on El Camino College's baseball team, as well as one freshman, will continue their careers next year, either in the pros or at a four-year university. Pro draftees are freshman pitcher Zak Shinall, selected by the Dodgers, and pitcher Ranfred Johnson, drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers. Pitcher, Jeff Beck was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays but has decided to stay at El Camino.
Those going to four-year schools are outfielder Javier Loera, choosing among USC, Oklahoma State and Texas Tech; utility man Sean Collins, going to Kansas State; outfielder D.J. Flory and first baseman Larry Assayag, both going to Long Beach State; infielder Ruben Jauregui, the team's leading hitter, will attend Cal State Dominguez Hills unless he gets a larger scholarship offer, and pitcher Robert MacMurray is headed to Westmont College.
Pitcher Scott Reece will remain at El Camino as an assistant coach.