VERNON — City Council members met Vernon High School Athletic Director Bobby Johns Monday night when he stopped by to visit the council’s workshop at Vernon City Hall.
“I want to be involved as much as I can with the kids,” Johns said. “Small towns are special, and pretty much everyone interested in these programs does it for the kids and for their community.”
Johns said early sports program such as T-ball and pee wee football, which are sponsored by the city of Vernon’s Parks and Recreation Department, are essential in helping children grow into responsible, well-functioning adults.
“We have hundreds of kids come out for the youth programs, then sometimes when it gets to the varsity level, you have trouble getting enough to come out to make a team,” Johns said. He would like to work with the community in maintaining children’s interest in athletics.
The school system can be an important part of a community, especially in small towns. “We are really lucky to have a school in as small a town as Vernon,” Johns said.
“I want to do whatever I can to make sure we have a good relationship between our programs,” Johns said. “There may be some times when we need to use one of the city’s facilities, or the city may need to use one of our facilities at the school. Whatever it is, just call me and I will be glad to help.”
Council member Tray Hawkins, who introduced Johns to the council, said Johns’ enthusiasm has already made a difference in the football program at Vernon High School.
“Last year they had about 17 kids that wanted to play football,” Hawkins said. “Already this year Coach Johns has about 60 kids in the program, and they are already training after school.”
Coach Johns was head coach at Blountstown and in 2011, he went to Bacon High School, near Valdosta, Ga.
In 2004 he led the Blountstown Tigers to a 15-1 record and a 1A state runner up finish. His 2005 team went 13-1 and made it to the region finals. In his 15 years as a head coach Johns has won 115 games. He replaced coach Ryan Boyd.
Hawkins said Johns was a two time Florida Coach of the Year and he has coached teams to five state championships. “We are really fortunate to have him here for our kids, and he wants to be involved in the recreational programs.”
Johns said children who are involved in athletics are more likely to be self-motivated, involved and healthy, and if they develop exercising as a habit early on, then they can stay healthy throughout their school years and beyond.
“That’s where everything starts,” Johns said. “We want to get them started in good habits when they’re young.”