Jim Johnson

Coach, Author, Speaker, ‘Miracle’ Worker, Husband and Father

Jim Johnson

Character University Speaker

On Feb. 15, 2006, Greece Athena High School Basketball Coach Johnson made the kindhearted gesture of inserting his autistic manager, Jason McElwain, now known to the world as J-Mac into the season’s final home game, which the Trojans won 79-43. J-Mac scored 20 points in just over four minutes, including six three-point baskets, to become an instant national celebrity.

Based on what transpired in those few short minutes in 2006, Coach Jim Johnson is now an authority on the subject of realizing your dreams. In his many public-speaking appearances, the Rochester, New York resident relates his role in a basketball game that got Hollywood calling. He also emphasizes the importance of teamwork and sportsmanship, delivering his talks with a heartfelt style that has brought audiences to their feet.

Coach Johnson has made a number of radio and television appearances, including the Oprah Winfrey and Jim Rome shows. In 2006 he met President George W. Bush, Governor George Pataki, and Senator Hillary Clinton, to name just a few luminaries. Coach Jim’s experience and success has put him in high demand, speaking to audiences from all over the country such as: Pontiac, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, The Ladders, Paychex Inc, the National Conference on Student Leadership, and the Social Security Administration. Coach was inspired to write a book to document the amazing dynamics which lead to the ‘miracle’ that took place on the basketball court in ‘A Coach and a Miracle’.

Coach Johnson lives in Greece, NY with his wife, Pat. Coach retired in 2014 from his position as a physical-education teacher at Athena after 33 years and is excited about being able to share his message to many more audiences. Even though he has retired from full-time teaching he looks forward to entering his 20th season as the Trojans’ varsity coach. Coach is excited to have the opportunity to work with your team very soon!

I think it’s a great story — to follow your dream, follow your goals and never ever quit. It’s a great story for people of my age, people of any age.

Dick Vitale, ESPN Basketball Commentator and Basketball Hall of Famer

Coach Johnson shared his inspirational story with our whole team of 225 employees and moved us to tears. Anybody who has seen the video of the game can’t help but be inspired by it. But what we found even more engaging about Coach Johnson’s presentation was “the story behind the story." I recommend him to any group as a speaker.

Marc Cenedella - Founder and Executive Chairman: The Ladders

If you are looking for an inspiring, hopeful speaker that encourages high student effort through goal setting, Jim Johnson will not disappoint. His talk is one of high energy, enthusiasm and elevation.

Rick Amundson - Former Superintendent Lyons Central School District

No matter what your age or walk of life, Coach Johnson’s program will inspire and compel you to better yourself and those around you. I give him the highest recommendation and will surely use him again in the future.

Chuck Mitrano - Empire 8 (College) Athletic Conference Commissioner

Our corporation has held these leadership events for 15 years. . . and in our follow up survey, attendees pronounced Jim Johnson as the best keynote speaker we’ve ever had. I would wholeheartedly recommend Coach Jim Johnson for your event.

Robin Hendrick - Executive Administrator Excellus BlueCross BlueShield