Anonymous donation pushes Leon Johnson scholarship to over $ 25,000
NATCHITOCHES – In an action that matches the season, an anonymous donor helped push the Leon Johnson track scholarship to Northwestern State past the $ 25,000 mark.
The $ 15,000 contribution from a former athletics demon and Cross-country programs further bolstered support for one of the 73 Northwestern State fully-endowed athletic scholarships funded by the Demons Unlimited Foundation, the official fundraising arm of NSU Athletics.
“Coach Johnson was the only reason I came to NSU,” said the donor. “He coached for so long and did such a good job that my wife and I wanted to make this contribution in his honor.”
Johnson spent 31 years at the helm of the Northwestern State program, the second longest term of all head coaches in NSU history behind the 36-year career of basketball coach H. Lee Prather. Johnson has coached 134 individual Southland Conference champions – 83 outdoor and 51 indoor – 57 All-Americans, nearly 100 NCAA Championship qualifiers and US Olympic triple jumpers LaMark Carter (Sydney 2000 Games) and Kenta Bell (Athens 2004 Games and Beijing 2008 Games).
Johnson was awarded the Nth Degree by former NSU President Dr Randall Webb and the Southland Conference nominated this is the price of the outdoor athletics coach after him. Johnson was inducted into the Southland Conference Hall of Honor in 2017 and the N-Club Hall of Fame in 1999.
Even after his retirement, Johnson remained active in and around Northwestern State athletics, including working closely with the NSU’s men’s basketball program, further demonstrating his reach through the generations. The endowment scholarship established in Johnson’s name is another example of its influence, which remains visible every November when the NSU hosts the Louisiana High School Athletic Association cross-country meet. Johnson was a key figure in first meeting Natchitoches in the late 1980s.
NSU Athletics has now exceeded $ 2.5 million in endowment funds to help offset the cost of athletics scholarships. Annual interest totaling $ 5 million will fully subscribe to all NSU athletic books scholarships and allow Demons Unlimited Foundation money to be redirected to other areas that would benefit NSU teams.