Franklin Pitcher “Pitch” Johnson’s contributions to the sports of track & field and cross country extend far beyond his successful coaching career. Johnson helped establish the fledgling National Collegiate Track Coaches Association (NCTCA), serving as an officer from 1933 until his retirement from coaching, including a three-year stint as President (1935-1938). As a coach, Johnson put Drake University Track & Field on the map as head track & field coach from 1928 to 1940 and director of the Drake Relays from 1933 to 1940. Under his guidance, the Bulldogs earned ten team conference championships in track & field (six indoors and four outdoors), won 30 individual Missouri Valley Conference titles, and finished third (1938) and fourth (1939) in the first two years of the NCAA Cross Country Championships. Johnson ended his coaching career at Stanford University, serving as head track & field coach from 1940 to 1945.
“I am very pleased and gratified that the USTFCCCA has chosen my father, Franklin (Pitch) Johnson for its Hall of Fame,” said Franklin Pitcher “Pitch” Johnson, Jr., son of the late “Pitch” Johnson, Sr. “As a former Olympic hurdler, he always loved the sport in which people ‘run, jump and throw things,’ as he frequently put it.”