Freddy Johnson, Greensboro Day “Books and Basketball” by Rick Lewis and Jeff Bendel
When one thinks of Greensboro Day, you think of Coach Freddy Johnson. He is the Dean Smith of high school basketball and is one of the greatest coaches at any level. Broad statement, yes, but he is what basketball is all about. He has engrained a “team first” approach that has been centered around the high academic standards of Greensboro Day. There are no short cuts for players attending Greensboro Day and that is the same for the basketball program. He is a true gentleman of the game and has become a role model and even father figure to many of the players who has played for him over the years.
Coach Johnson has compiled an overall record of 1080-300 for an amazing 78.2% winning percentage and is the winningest coach in North Carolina high school basketball history. He has coached Greensboro Day to a record 11 NCISAA state championships finished runner-up eight other times. In addition, he was the USA Today North Carolina Coach of the Year in 2015 and was named the 2017 National Coach of the Year by Ball Is Life. He led Greensboro Day to two GEICO National High School Tournament in 2015 and 2017.
Born and raised in Greensboro, North Carolina, Coach Johnson has been around the game his entire life. He started coaching at the YMCA when he was 15 years old. Simply put, Freddy Johnson was born to coach and has now been coaching at Greensboro Day for 43 years. He has built a basketball dynasty at Greensboro Day, but it goes much deeper than basketball for Coach Johnson. Greensboro Day is one of the top private schools in the state and academics are equally important. This year’s roster was once again loaded with talented players. He had Carson McCorkle (Virginia) and Cam Hayes (NC State) as the returning leaders. They added Bryce Harris, Brock Williams, and Jaydon Young to an already impressive roster, and reclassified Young to the Class of 2023. However, the ability to build a steady rotation relied on guys like Cason Pierce, Jackson Noble, Christian Bailey, and Whit Trevey.
When you play for Freddy Johnson and Greensboro Day, you form this lifetime bond that goes beyond basketball, you become part of the Greensboro Day School family and that alone speaks volumes. Players that attend Greensboro Day School want to be coached and be part of a winning foundation and tradition. Coach Johnson’s team first attitude is engrained with the players before they even step onto campus. They all “buy in” and are willing to sacrifice points and playing time in order to play for something bigger. They know Coach Johnson will prepare them for the next level, whether it is basketball, academics or in the game of life.
Coach Johnson’s teams will always be well coached, disciplined, and understand team defensive principles. He has been a pioneer and eventually became a storied legend within North Carolina basketball, achieving on and off-court honors like no one in the state’s history. Every opponent places a massive bulls-eye on the schedule for Greensboro Day, and a lot of that has to do with what Johnson has built over his career. He’s wise, respected, and truly knows the game as well as anyone.