FAMU Alum to Return as Head Basketball Coach

By: Univ. of Alaska Sports Information Release
By: Univ. of Alaska Sports Information Release

After four seasons at the helm of the Alaska men's basketball team, head coach Clemon Johnson is stepping down to take a Division I head coaching job at his alma mater, Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU).

Johnson finishes with a 28-74 overall record with the Nanooks.

Alaska fell just short of the Great Northwest Athletic Conference playoffs this season after finishing 8-17 (5-13 GNAC). He also recruited and coached the 2010-11 Ron Lenz National Player of the Year, Parrish West.

"The best part of my job is watching student-athletes go on to distinguished careers and seeing staff members pursue their dreams and move on to exciting professional opportunities, Alaska Director of Athletics Forrest Karr said. I couldn't be happier for Clem and his family."

Johnson played for FAMU from 1974-1978, during which time he set rebounding records for a single game (25), a season (412) and a career (1,494). Those records still stand, and he still ranks in the top-twenty in scoring with 1,381 points.

The opportunity to return home is another blessed moment in my life, Johnson said. The departure from UAF is a bittersweet moment. I felt the incoming class and the returning players would recreate the stir heard during earlier years in the GNAC.

But coming home to Florida A&M University allows me to continue my growth in my desired profession on another level. The past four years has been a great learning experience for my coaching and life development. The athletic staff, my coaching staff and administrators have provided guidance, patience, encouragement and knowledge.

After graduating from FAMU with a degree in economics, Johnson was drafted to the NBA by the Portland Trailblazers in the second round of the 1978 draft. He played 761 professional games with four different teams, including the Blazers, Indiana Pacers, Philadelphia 76ers and Seattle Supersonics.

Johnson retired from the NBA in 1988 and went on to play five years of professional basketball in Italy.

He then began coaching at the high school level in Florida before taking on a coaching internship with the Atlanta Hawks in 2006 and eventually making his way to Fairbanks the next year.

Last season, FAMU finished 12-20 in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC). They made the MEAC tournament, but lost 87-85 to Maryland Eastern Shore in the first round.

Alaska's head coaching position is posted on UAKjobs.com, NCAA.org and on various college coaching websites. The position will remain posted through Tuesday, May 17. A final decision will be announced by the end of May.

The hiring committee includes: Harry Davis, Mike Hajdukovich, Bart LeBon, Kevin McHenry, Al Svenningson and Joe Tremarello.

Davis was an original member of the Top of the World organizing committee. Hajdukovich, LeBon, McHenry and Tremarello are former Nanook players. McHenry recently resigned as head boy's coach at North Pole High School. Tremarello formerly coached the Alaska women's basketball team. Svenningson is a former Alaska men's basketball coach and holds the school coaching record for career wins with 245.

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