Remembering "Tank" Johnson
Originally Published June 13, 2012

Intercollegiate athletics lost an icon this month in the person of Lloyd "Tank" Johnson. He was a man with a zest for life and a mentor to thousands of young men and women. He loved helping others.

I had the pleasure of knowing Coach Johnson for basically my entire life and his presence, on and around the campus of Bethune-Cookman and in the community of Daytona Beach, was as constant as the waves on 'The World's Most Famous Beach'. Just as you knew that the waves were always there on the beach, Tank was always there at BCC. He was a part of the fabric and a plank in the foundation of our great school.

His work was evident in the growth of the college and the upgrade of the athletic program to the NCAA Division I level in the 1980's. Tank's work allowed BCC to have its' brand exposed to millions of people on television, radio, in the print media and beyond. In the days before Twitter, Facebook, the Internet and even YouTube, Tank worked day and night in furthering the cause of BCC and its most precious commodities....the students.

I know firsthand because I was one. I was a beneficiary of the hard work of this legendary figure. In the mid 1970's, Tank's influence allowed us to be broadcast on NBC in football and on the fledgling BET network in a variety of other sports. His vision and promotional acumen paved the way for his Wildcats to play in some of the nations' greatest stadiums and arenas.

Tank was truly a visionary. He was as crafty a promoter as Don King and as smart a businessman as Donald Trump. Who else could think of having the great Ray Charles as a post-game performer after the BCC and Grambling gridiron matchup in Jacksonville? Who else could dream up a halftime race between the then world's most famous human Houston McTeer against a race horse in Miami's Orange Bowl? Who else could convince the Greatest of All Time, Muhammad Ali, to appear at a BCC football game? Tank did.

Tank was truly a visionary. He was as crafty a promoter as Don King and as smart a businessman as Donald Trump. Who else could think of having the great Ray Charles as a post-game performer after the BCC and Grambling gridiron matchup in Jacksonville? Who else could dream up a halftime race between the then world's most famous human Houston McTeer against a race horse in Miami's Orange Bowl? Who else could convince the Greatest of All Time, Muhammad Ali, to appear at a BCC football game? Tank did.

In fact, Tank did it all...whatever was necessary. He literally sold tickets to the home games, hosted conference executives at his home and even managed to coach the defense on our championship football team.

He has gone on to his reward in Glory and leaves a legacy of success for all of us to follow. Some folks are fortunate in life to find their true calling...Tank was one of them. He was born to build the program at Bethune-Cookman and what he built will pass the test of time.

Just like the waves on Daytona Beach...Tank's work will keep rolling in through the generations of youngsters whose lives he touched and through them, just like the waves...he will always be there at Bethune-Cookman.

About the Visions of Victory Blog:

Visions of Victory is a frequently released blog written by B-CU director of athletics Lynn W. Thompson focusing on issues, topics and a wide range of ideas and concepts surrounding the realm of intercollegiate athletics and beyond. With over 20 years of experience in the rapidly changing world of college sports, Thompson certainly has a lot to say. Whether it's commenting on new trends or simply motivating young people, B-CU's AD is highly qualified to weigh in.

"I consider it an honor and a big part of my life to be able to share with people some of the techniques, words and ideas that have worked in my role as a mentor and manager," said Thompson recently. "Visions of Victory will allow us the opportunity to continue to share with people the great things that are happening on our campus and to our young people."

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