On Edgar Johnson

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Back when I was a student at the University of Delaware, I decided that I hated Edgar Johnson, the school’s athletic director.

I came to this conclusion for two reasons:

A. He seemed to place a greater emphasis on football and men’s basketball than all the other sports combined.

B. I wanted an enemy to bash in the student newspaper.

So I bashed and bashed and bashed and bashed. I mean, I was a ruthless little prick, accusing Johnson of things he did (that, in hindsight, weren’t so bad) and things he didn’t do. It also turns out his attention toward football and men’s hoops was, well, wise. At a school Delaware’s size, the athletic department has to make money to support the smaller programs. Like it or not, football and basketball make money.

But here’s the thing that, in hindsight, is amazing: Whenever I called Edgar Johnson, he called back. In fact, not only did he call back, but he answered everything I asked, and did so kindly. On occasion he would express displeasure with a take, but never anger or agitation. At the time, being 22 and a complete asshole, I think I took this for softness; meekness; whatever. Now, looking back nearly 22 years, I get where Edgar Johnson was coming from. Or, more precisely, what he was doing: Namely, teaching me a lesson in accountability. Also, he knew I was a Delaware student, and therefore paying tuition to attend. I’m guessing he felt an obligation to help the student newspaper—even when we (well, I) were unworthy. That’s more than mere decency. It’s accountability.

This post comes far too late, but I owe the man an enormous debt of gratitude.

He was classy, when I was a gnat.

5 thoughts on “On Edgar Johnson”

  1. Great post, Jeff. When I was at Udel (’96-00) and did play-by-play for WVUD he and the SID at the time were very supportive and provided us with great access.

  2. It’s a shame it took you this long to realize Edgar was a great AD and a stellar guy. I guess some, when young, are closed eyed and slow on the uptake. U of D was lucky to have a person like him at the helm of the athletic department when they needed him.

  3. Jeff,
    I was a student at UD at the same time you were. Think I was a couple years behind you, not sure. Also, I worked in the press box for a couple years, and if I remember correctly, you sat a row in front of me and a couple seats over… so I DO remember correctly things you would say (about Edgar) during the games.
    Before I continue, you should know, Edgar Johnson is my uncle (not in reality… he’s my pop’s best friend… grew up calling him Uncle Edgar, just as his kids grew up calling my pop Uncle Willie).
    Glad you finally came to your senses. It’s a shame it took you this long. I remember reading your articles in the student newspaper. And just as you hated him, I hated you. But I had a reason to (a justified reason)… you were an asshole… whereas you “needed” an enemy. The reason being, aside from you being an asshole, is that Edgar Johnson is the classiest person I’ve ever known. That has nothing to do with him being my uncle… it’s because I know the man.
    I understand we all have misguided views when we’re young, but that doesn’t excuse what you did. You admitted that you wanted an enemy and you chose him and took it out on him. You said you were only 22, but you could’ve been 12 and, as a sports reporter, should’ve known that football and basketball is what brings in the money… for ALL schools… so that’s a lame excuse. Not to mention, that as a 22 year old sports reporter, not knowing or realizing that those sports bring in the money and support the other sports make you a total f’n moron.
    While I’m happy you’ve finally realized what an asshole you were… that it took you 20-something years to do so… still makes you an asshole… maybe even more so. You say you realized it because he taught you a lesson in accountability…yes, accountability is important and a factor… but the reality is that Edgar Johnson is a CLASS ACT… the classiest person I’ve ever known, and probably the classiest person that anyone who’s ever known him has ever met.
    I would thank you for finally realizing that, but you don’t deserve a thank you. That it took you this long only proves one thing… excuse me, two things… firstly, you were an asshole then… and secondly, you’re an asshole now. I don’t know you, but I’m very confident in saying that you’ve never met, nor will you ever meet, a person with more class than Edgar Johnson.
    It took you this long…??? WTF???

  4. Jeff,

    I was a student at UD at the same time you were. Think I was a couple years behind you, not sure. Also, I worked in the press box for a couple years, and if I remember correctly, you sat a row in front of me and a couple seats over… so I DO remember correctly things you would say (about Edgar) during the games.

    Before I continue, you should know, Edgar Johnson is my uncle (not in reality… he’s my pop’s best friend… grew up calling him Uncle Edgar, just as his kids grew up calling my pop Uncle Willie).

    Glad you finally came to your senses. It’s a shame it took you this long. I remember reading your articles in the student newspaper. And just as you hated him, I hated you. But I had a reason to (a justified reason)… you were an asshole… whereas you “needed” an enemy. The reason being, aside from you being an asshole, is that Edgar Johnson is the classiest person I’ve ever known. That has nothing to do with him being my uncle… it’s because I know the man.

    I understand we all have misguided views when we’re young, but that doesn’t excuse what you did. You admitted that you wanted an enemy and you chose him and took it out on him. You said you were only 22, but you could’ve been 12 and, as a sports reporter, should’ve known that football and basketball is what brings in the money… for ALL schools… so that’s a lame excuse. Not to mention, that as a 22 year old sports reporter, not knowing or realizing that those sports bring in the money and support the other sports make you a total f’n moron.

    While I’m happy you’ve finally realized what an asshole you were… that it took you 20-something years to do so… still makes you an asshole… maybe even more so. You say you realized it because he taught you a lesson in accountability…yes, accountability is important and a factor… but the reality is that Edgar Johnson is a CLASS ACT… the classiest person I’ve ever known, and probably the classiest person that anyone who’s ever known him has ever met.

    I would thank you for finally realizing that, but you don’t deserve a thank you. That it took you this long only proves one thing… excuse me, two things… firstly, you were an asshole then… and secondly, you’re an asshole now. I don’t know you, but I’m very confident in saying that you’ve never met, nor will you ever meet, a person with more class than Edgar Johnson.

    It took you this long…??? WTF???

  5. Jeff,

    I was a student at UD at the same time you were. Think I was a couple years behind you, not sure. Also, I worked in the press box for a couple years, and if I remember correctly, you sat a row in front of me and a couple seats over… so I DO remember correctly things you would say (about Edgar) during the games.

    Before I continue, you should know, Edgar Johnson is my uncle (not in reality… he’s my pop’s best friend… grew up calling him Uncle Edgar, just as his kids grew up calling my pop Uncle Willie).

    Glad you finally came to your senses. It’s a shame it took you this long. I remember reading your articles in the student newspaper. And just as you hated him, I hated you. But I had a reason to (a justified reason)… you were an asshole… whereas you “needed” an enemy. The reason being, aside from you being an asshole, is that Edgar Johnson is the classiest person I’ve ever known. That has nothing to do with him being my uncle… it’s because I know the man.

    I understand we all have misguided views when we’re young, but that doesn’t excuse what you did. You admitted that you wanted an enemy and you chose him and took it out on him. You said you were only 22, but you could’ve been 12 and, as a sports reporter, should’ve known that football and basketball is what brings in the money… for ALL schools… so that’s a lame excuse. Not to mention, that as a 22 year old sports reporter, not knowing or realizing that those sports bring in the money and support the other sports make you a total f’n moron.

    While I’m happy you’ve finally realized what an asshole you were… that it took you 20-something years to do so… still makes you an asshole… maybe even more so. You say you realized it because he taught you a lesson in accountability…yes, accountability is important and a factor… but the reality is that Edgar Johnson is a CLASS ACT… the classiest person I’ve ever known, and probably the classiest person that anyone who’s ever known him has ever met.

    I would thank you for finally realizing that, but you don’t deserve a thank you. That it took you this long only proves one thing… excuse me, two things… firstly, you were an asshole then… and secondly, you’re an asshole now. I don’t know you, but I’m very confident in saying that you’ve never met, nor will you ever meet, a person with more class than Edgar Johnson.

    It took you this long…??? WTF???

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