Mr. Stark County High School Sports Passes Away

When pretty much everyone agrees that your name is synonymous with your chosen lot in life, you’re an icon.

WHBC's Jim JohnsonThat certainly applied to Jim Johnson, who symbolized coverage of high school sports in Stark County for decades. His long-time employer, NextMedia talk WHBC/1480 Canton, reports Johnson’s death.

Johnson retired from WHBC in 2007 after a 29 year run covering thousands of high school and other sports events. His total career length? 43 years.

Quoting WHBC’s own news story on Johnson’s death:

Long-Time WHBC Sports Director and play-by-play man, Jim Johnson has passed away. Jim started his career with WHBC back in August of 1978, retiring after 29 years in June of 2007. He spent 43 years in broadcasting in Canton, Alliance, Akron and Urichsville. He graduated from Newcomerstown High School and Bob Jones University. He also served 6 years in the national guard. Jim broadcast more than 2000 high school football and basketball games filling in for Joe Tait, and was the M-C of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Induction ceremonies from 1988 to 1998 when ESPN took over the job. Jim is survived by his daughter Michelle and son Mike. His wife Nancy recently passed away.

The item mentions one thing that might make Johnson familiar with those north of Belden Village Mall – his stint on the Cleveland Cavaliers Radio Network. Johnson was heard calling Cavaliers basketball from 1989 to 1992.

But you didn’t even have to know him to know that Jim Johnson’s first love was high school sports. And his second love. And his…you get the idea.

WHBC program/news director Pam Cook tells the Canton Repository that Jim Johnson “was” high school football:

“He didn’t care about pro or college sports; to him there was nothing like high-school sports. He had his chances to go on to bigger and better things; he chose to stay here and do high-school sports.”

Cook tells the Repository that Johnson died after a lengthy illness at an Alliance care center.

Our sincere condolences to our friends at Market South on the loss…

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