Concise Encyclopedia of Tufts History
Johnson, Brooks T.,
Brooks T. Johnson, A1956, former U.S. Olympic women's track coach is the eleventh recipient of the Presidential Medal (1985).
Born in Florida, Johnson was residing in Plymouth, Massachusetts, when he entered Tufts, majoring in Government (Political Science) on a Travelli academic scholarship. As an undergraduate, he was a member of Phi Epsilon Pi fraternity, Sword and Shield (a sophomore honor society), a two year member of the Student Council and was a staff member of the Tufts Weekly. He ran track for Tufts beginning in his sophomore year, captaining an undefeated indoor track team in 1956. The previous year, he held the American intercollegiate record for the 60-yard dash. He set a world record in the same event in 1960.Following his graduation in 1956, Johnson became a National Honor Scholar at the University of Chicago Law School. He continued to race, winning a gold medal with the U.S. 400-meter relay team in the Pan American Games. Johnson was also selected as an All-American sprinter.
In 1964, Johnson went to Washington, DC as a program officer for the Governmental Affairs Institute. He continued his training at American University, organizing its Track Club and inspiring dozens of students to excel at track and field activities. In 1969, he taught modern history at St. Albans School for Boys, while coaching the school's track team, feeling he was making "an emotional investment" in helping black athletes obtain a college education.
Johnson moved to Stanford University in 1979, to assume the position of varsity track coach and director of track and field for both men and women. In 1984, he coached the U.S. Summer Olympics women's track team, which earned fifteen medals during sixteen events, including seven gold.
At Tufts Homecoming 1985, Johnson was presented with the Tufts Presidential Medal for service both to his alma mater and the larger community, illustrated by his goal "not to make track champions but to develop human beings."He had coached more than forty Olympic athletes during the course of his career. In 1987, Johnson was made manager of Sports Programming (Track & Field) for Walt Disney World Sports in Orlando, Florida.