A former head coach at Stanford University (1979-92) and California Polytechnic State University (1993-96) and High Performance Division Chair for USA Track & Field, Brooks Johnson had a coaching career that spanned five decades.
Johnson was a talented high school track athlete in Plymouth, Massachusetts who later competed for Tufts University. After graduation, he earned a law degree at University of Chicago, which led to a job with the State Department, working for the Governmental Affairs Institute. Meanwhile, he found time to coach athletes of every level, national-class athletes, as well as high school competitors. Johnson eventually taught and coached track and football at St. Albans School in Washington, D.C., where he worked with high school discus thrower and future Vice President Al Gore.
Johnson’s first collegiate coaching experience came at the University of Florida in 1975, where he served as an assistant track coach. When fellow USTFCCCA Hall of Famer Payton Jordan retired from Stanford in 1979, Johnson accepted the head coaching position there. While coaching the Cardinal, Johnson worked with such talented athletes as PattiSue Plumer and Ceci (Hopp) St. Geme. He left Stanford for Cal Poly in 1993, and in 1996, he retired from collegiate coaching to concentrate on his work with elite-level athletes.
Johnson worked with his first Olympian in 1960, 110m hurdles Silver Medalist Willie May, and has coached an athlete at every Olympics since 1968. He was the 1984 Olympic Team women’s head coach and served as a relay coach for the 2008 Olympic Team.
He is a former director of the ARCO Olympic Training Center and former High Performance Division chair for USATF.