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Former AD Edgar Johnson Inducted into Delaware Wall of Fame
Former longtime University of Delaware Director of Athletics Edgar Johnson received yet another prestigious University-wide honor Saturday afternoon as he was inducted into the UD Wall of Fame.
Johnson, who served as Delaware’s Director of Athletics from 1984 until 2009 and currently is an associate professor in sport management at the University, was one of 10 distinguished alumni honored for exceptional achievements. The Wall of Fame induction ceremony was held at the Gore Recital Hall of the Roselle Center for the Arts.
Held during Alumni Weekend festivities, the ceremony also honored Leon W. Adams Sr., 1941; Douglas Blonsky, 1981; John E. Eckerson, 1987; Nancy Lee Karibjanian, 1980; Rita Mariani Landgraf, 1980; James H. Miller, 1977; John W. Morgan III, 1979; Patricia Orris Robertson, 1972; and Suzanne McMahon Sears, 1978.
Alan Brayman, president of the UD Alumni Association and host of the ceremony, said, “Our recipients’ level and diversity of accomplishments serve as a testament that a degree from the University of Delaware provides the foundation for the many wonderful opportunities that await our graduates….The worldwide recognition these individuals have gained brings pride to the University of Delaware and inspires fellow alumni and students alike.”
UD President Patrick Harker congratulated the newest members of the Alumni Wall of Fame. “Many Blue Hens – those enrolled and those already graduated – have the opportunities and advantages they do precisely because of the people we honor today. And so, when I consider our 10 Wall of Fame inductees, I see the University of our aspirations.”
Johnson, one of only three people to hold the athletic director title at UD between 1940 and 2009, earned his bachelor’s degree in physical education in 1967 and his master’s degree in education in 1970. He has spent his entire professional career at UD, serving as director of athletics from 1984 until 2009. His 25-year tenure, one of the nation’s longest among NCAA Division I athletic directors, was marked by unprecedented success and sweeping change. A scholarship in his name is presented annually to a UD student-athlete who demonstrates the characteristics of leadership, commitment and integrity that have marked his career at UD.
“The University of Delaware is a special place and it has been a significant part of my life for 42 years,” said Johnson, who also earned the UD Medal of Distinction in 2009. “As student, coach, administrator and faculty member, I have met, been mentored and been be-friended by extraordinary people and great leaders. In athletics, as in life, it takes teamwork to be successful and I have been fortunate to be surrounded by great teammates at Delaware. I am thankful to have had the opportunity to work with such great men and women. The University of Delaware is a great place with great people.”
Johnson was presented by Thom Shumosic, a long-time supporter of Blue Hen athletics, a former radio announcer for Blue Hen basketball, and founder and President of the Rockwood Financial Group.
A native of Wilmington, Del. and an accomplished student-athlete at Salesianum School, Johnson came to Delaware and was a record-setting team captain for the Blue Hen men’s swimming teams for head coach Harry Rawstrom.
Under Johnson, who succeeded David Nelson in 1984, Delaware enjoyed unprecedented success on the playing fields, for graduation rates of student-athletes, and improvement of its athletic facilities. He guided the movement of Blue Hen athletic teams from the East Coast Conference to the America East conference (then known as the North Atlantic Conference) in 1991-92 and a full move to its current home in the Colonial Athletic Association prior to the 2001-02 season.
He guided the football program into its first league affiliation since 1970 with entry into the Yankee Conference in 1986 followed by is evolution to the Atlantic 10 Football Conference in 1997 and to the CAA in 2007.
During his tenure, Delaware teams made 32 NCAA Tournament appearances, including an NCAA I-AA football national championship in 2003 and an NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision runner-up finish in 2007, and a first-ever trip to the NCAA final four in men’s lacrosse during the 2007 season. Blue Hen teams captured 83 league regular season and tournament team titles during his tenure as well as numerous conference individual champions, league Player and Coach of the Year Awards, All-Americans, and Academic All-Americans.
While members of the America East conference in 1991-2001, Delaware teams captured 10 straight Stuart Haskell Commissioner’s Cup awards signifying overall athletics excellence based on final league standings in all sports. While a member of the East Coast Conference, Delaware finished as runner-up for the Commissioner’s Cup each of its final nine seasons in the league.
Before taking over for David Nelson as UD irector of Athletics in 1984, Johnson served in many roles for the Blue Hens athletics program, including serving as women’s swimming and diving head coach in. His impressive record of 59-4 as a women’s swimming coach included a longstanding UD record of 42 straight dual meet wins.
He joined the Delaware staff in 1969 as assistant athletic trainer and assistant men’s swimming coach. In 1971 he was named men’s cross country coach and compiled a 70-44 record through the 1979 season. He also served as assistant track coach in 1975-79.
He found his greatest coaching success with the Blue Hen women’s swimming team, serving as head coach of the Blue Hens in 1979-84. During his tenure, he compiling a remarkable record of 59-4 that included 42 consecutive dual meet wins - a record that still stands as the longest winning streak by any team in Delaware athletics history.
His 1980-81 and 1981-82 teams won EAIAW Division II eastern championships. His 1980-81 team placed ninth at nationals (AIAW), had six All-Americans, and established 46 school records. Three of his former swimmers have been inducted into the University of Delaware Athletics Hall of Fame, which he helped found in 1997.
In 1981 Johnson was named Director of Aquatics, serving as head men’s and women’s swimming coach as well as director of the UD indoor and outdoor pools. He succeeded Rawstrom as co-head coach of the UD men’s program along with Peter Brown and guided the team to a 6-3 dual record in 1981-82.
Johnson and his wife Karen live in Newark. They have two children and three grandchildren.
By University of Delaware Sports Information