The CCCMBCA is sad to announce the passing of Victor Valley College head coach Troy Johnson, 45. Johnson, who was in his third year as the Rams' head coach, reportedly suffered a heart attack yesterday (Tuesday, January 9) and passed away.
He joined the College athletic department in August of 2016. Johnson had amassed over 16 years of collegiate coaching experience with eight in the California community college system. "Coach J" as known by his staff and players enjoyed two successful seasons as the men's basketball at Merritt College before moving on to San Jose State University as the video coordinator and administrative assistant coach for the Spartans men's basketball program. Before he became a head coach he served as assistant at College of San Francisco and Ohlone College.
He also gained valuable experience as a coach for NCAA DII powerhouse Adams State University. While at Adams State, Johnson helped the Grizzlies assemble an offensive attack that was ranked in the top 10 in points per game.
"The 2018 season will continue with a heavy heart as we learn about and attempt to cope with the passing of one of our own, Victor Valley Head Coach Troy Johnson," Steve Ball, CCCMBCA president, said in a statement. "Troy was a great advocate and mentor for his player and represents the character that the CCCMBCA aspires to model. His smile and enthusiasm will be missed."
A native of Brooklyn, NY, Johnson played junior college basketball at Merritt College, then moved to the southwest and played for the Mustangs of Western New Mexico University in Silver City, NM.
"I enjoyed having Coach Troy Johnson on staff," Jaye Tashima, Victor Valley College athletic director, said. "He has brought the program up to a highly competitive level. He was always in it for the student-athlete. His efforts were always geared towards 'student first, basketball player second.' I miss him – he made me laugh every day."
Last year, Victor Valley College was 4-21, but this year Johnson had the Rams off to an 11-5 start and state No. 20 ranking. Johnson leaves behind two young children.
Thoughts from coaches:
"A BROTHER to his coaching colleagues, a FATHER FIGURE to his student athletes, while being the GREATEST to Dad Troy Jr. & Isaiah. Coach Johnson was the EPITOME of a players coach, tough but fair. I’ve been very fortunate to know Coach J for almost 20yrs. I was his first college signing and one of his Best Friends. Troy was a well respected Coach throughout the various coaching levels. College basketball lost a Great & Caring Man - his legacy will continue to live on through people he worked with, the athletes that he mentored, more importantly his boys will carry on the Johnson name. Rest In Peace my good Friend love you Coach Johnson - and again thank you for everything." — Rob Haynes, Porterville College
"I have had the pleasure of knowing Troy for almost 20 years. He was a good man, father, coach, and mentor to young players. He has helped hundreds of players move forward in life. He had a tremendous work ethic, and competitive fire! We would always talk on phone about players, coaches, teams , and family. He will be missed. Prayers to his family." — Miguel Johnson, Contra Costa College
"A player, assistant coach, head coach, mentor and teacher at our level – a success story to say the least. It’s unbelievable to think how many kids that needed a break, Troy facilitated to JC and then, which he did better than anyone in the business, connected them with a four-year school. Thoughts and prayers to his family and the Victor Valley team." — Justin Labagh, City College of San Francisco
"The death of Troy is a tremendous loss to our coaching fraternity, Victor Valley College and most importantly his family. As a coach, Troy was dedicated to the profession and to the young men he coached. As a family man, I know through years of interactions he was motivated to set a tremendous examples for his boys." — Patrick Spring, Mt. San Jacinto College
"I am extremely saddened to hear of the loss of my friend Troy. His spirit, energy, and passion are things many of us strive for. I feel blessed to have known him and to have been able to watch him interact with his players. I will deeply miss the depth of our conversations and genuineness of Troy." — Gerred Link, Moorpark College
"I had spoken to him several times during the past weeks and just got a text from him last week, hard to believe. He was a very humble man and loved the game of basketball, he brought the program at Victor Valley to new heights. My prayers and thoughts to his family". — Tom Heck, Cerro Coso
"Try was in it for the right reasons he was making an impact on his players on and off the court and incredible role model care about the well-being I was family friends and players I hope all of us will carry a piece of that with us in honor of him." — Russ May, Cerritos College
"Shocked and saddened don't begin to describe how I feel regarding the news of Troy's passing. Not only did I lose a brother from our coaching fraternity but I lost a very good friend. I will never forget our talks nor will I ever forget you." — Jason Damjanovic, De Anza College
"We lost a brother within our coaching fraternity. He would always text me each holiday to wish my family the best. He was always willing to help, whether it was with scheduling games, or helping a kid find a school. His personality, smile and positive outlook on life will be missed and his relationships he built along the way will carry on his legacy." — Devin Aye, Copper Mountain