By Erik Harris
TRUSSVILLE — Hewitt-Trussville varsity boys basketball assistant coach Bobby Johns, who is a member of the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame, has retired from Hewitt-Trussville.
Johns served as an assistant under current head coach Mike Dutton for two years.
His coaching career got started in 1968. Dutton’s first high school job came as an assistant under Johns at Banks High School in 1969. Johns coached the varsity boys while Dutton held the clipboard for the B team for three seasons before Johns left for another school, leaving the varsity position open for Dutton.
“He’s retiring and that’s a big loss for me personally,” Dutton said. “I’ve known Coach Johns since 1958 and we’ve been great friends all our lives. We played basketball together at Banks in the early ‘60s and known him all my life so it’s a big loss for our school system and basketball program.”
The 2010 Alabama Sports Hall of Fame inductee served as a head basketball coach in the state for 12 years. Johns chose the coaching route over pro football following a stellar career playing defensive back for coach Paul “Bear” Bryant at Alabama from 1964 to 1967. He earned All-America honors as a junior and senior before being drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs.
Johns, a high school quarterback, started for the Crimson Tide in all three of his eligible college years to become a three-time All-Southeastern Conference player. College freshmen were ineligible to play in the 1960s.
As a junior, he nabbed a Sugar Bowl record three interceptions in Alabama’s 34-7 win over Nebraska in 1966.
Johns opted not to pursue a career with the Chiefs and went on to coach at the University of South Carolina, Florida State University, Valdosta State, Eastern Kentucky and Tennessee-Chattanooga before ending his collegiate coaching career as the head man at the University of West Alabama from 1997 to 2000.
“You don’t have many guys that are walking around the school as a (member of the) Alabama Sports Hall of Fame,” Dutton said.
Two-year junior varsity head coach Jeremiah Millington now joins the varsity basketball staff.
“The two or three weeks that we’ve been doing this, I’ve been really impressed with Coach Millington,” Dutton said. “He’s very well organized, he’s got that youthful enthusiasm and I’m really excited about what we can do together.”