Louis Johnson, Parker-Gray High School – Alexandria, Virginia

Louis Johnson was born in Lynchburg, Virginia and grew up in Charlottesville, Virginia, where he attended Jefferson High School. After graduation, he attended Hampton Institute for two years and transferred to West Virginia State College. Louis was a tri-sport athlete playing football, tennis, and was on the gymnastics team. He graduated in 1936, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Physical Education. After graduating, he taught at the Institute High School in West Virginia and also coached football at West Virginia State College.

For over two decades, Coach Johnson coached football, basketball, baseball, and track and field at Parker-Gray High School in Alexandria, Virginia, until the school closed in 1965. During his tenure at Parker-Gray, Coach Johnson produced some of the finest athletes and sports teams in Virginia. His teams regularly, competed and won state titles, as well as competitions with teams from Maryland, West Virginia, and Washington D.C. Notably, his 1946 “Dream Team” produced three future Black College All-Americans. Despite the lack of quality facilities, poor funding, and small enrollment he created an environment where student athletes excelled and prospered.

Coach Johnson developed future professional athletes who would compete in the National Football League, Canadian Football League, and the National Basketball Association. He was known as a miracle worker for creating an atmosphere of excellence and accountability.

Coach Johnson was a committed husband, dedicated father, and a highly respected person in his community. Known for his high character, he was affectionately called “Rubber Dog” by his peers.

He was inducted into the West Virginia State College Hall of Fame in 1984 and the Alexandria African American Hall of Fame Class of 2013.

Contributions to The VIA Heritage Association are tax exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.