For Keith Johnson, joining the Briarwood Academy football academy means more than coaching and teaching. "It feels like home being back," said Johnson, a 2000 Briarwood graduate who will serve as
assistant on the varsity and JV levels. "I'm really enjoying it." Johnson teaches government, psychology and PE. He also assists head coach John Osborne and JV coach Bo Fleming.
Fleming graduated with Johnson, and said he's known him all his life. "He's willing to do anything," Fleming said. "I'm coaching 32 kids and I can't do it without him."
"I'm glad to have him join us," head coach Osborne said. "His heart is in Briarwood. He's not just in it for himself."
That versatility is essential, according to Osborne, who said, "You don't just coach and teach. You have to cut grass, too." At Briarwood, Johnson played football, basketball and tennis.
He played on the 1999 GISA AA State Championship Men's Basketball team. His four years in the Navy saw him stationed at Mayport Naval Station in Jacksonville, Fla. He did a seven-month stint in the Arabian Gulf on the USS Vicksburg during Operation Enduring Freedom. He received the Good Conduct Medal and the National Defense Service medal and other medals and ribbons.
After leaving the Navy, he earned a bachelor of arts in history from American Military University. He began coaching as a community coach in Warrenton at Warren County High School in 2008.
He then took a job in in-school suspension at Washington Wilkes Comprehensive High School/ Washington Wilkes Middle School in Washington, Ga. He was an assistant varsity football coach, assistant junior varsity football coach, head junior varsity boys basketball coach, and assistant varsity boys basketball coach while there. He was there for two school years, 2009-2010 and 2010-2011. At the end of the year he began searching for a job in private school. Johnson is married to Virginia Barmore Johnson of Thomson. They have one daughter, Mary Charles, 6, who is in the first grade at Briarwood. "He loves coaching anywhere and any kind of child. He was offered a job at Briarwood and was thrilled to return to his alma mater," said the coach's wife. "There is an unreal feeling being back at the school where I played," the coach said. "There is just nothing like being on the grass or in the gym where you were a player."
"Briarwood feels like home and I love having the opportunity to be in this place again," Johnson said. "I am thrilled to have the opportunity to coach these kids and watch them excel, and be a part of an amazing staff while doing it."