Decorated coach Steve Johnson will not return as Eisenhower High School’s athletic director or boys basketball coach this coming school year, according to Rialto Unified School District director of communications Syeda Jafri.
The two-time Daily Bulletin Coach of the Year returned to his athletic director position briefly after recovering from gunshot wounds suffered Jan. 21 at an inner-city park in San Bernardino.
The 47-year-old Johnson was not asked to return as athletic director by newly appointed Eisenhower principal Scott Sparks. Johnson chose not to return as boys basketball coach for a program he turned into one of the area’s best over the last 19 years.
“Both the new Rialto and Eisenhower principals opened the athletic directors’ positions up going toward a different direction,” Jafri said. “Mr. Johnson chose not to return to coach basketball for next school year. The district has not opened the position yet.”
Sparks was not available for comment. Johnson did not respond to phone messages.
Johnson, who was shot shortly before 8 p.m. on Jan. 21 at Seccombe Lake Park in the 500 block of Sierra Way, was hospitalized with wounds in the abdomen, arm and buttocks. It was determined fairly quickly that his injuries were not life threatening and he was in fair condition as of Jan. 23.
The incident was initially reported as a robbery attempt. But according to police, Johnson gave conflicting reports of what transpired that night, which hindered their investigation.
The Eisenhower boys basketball team, whom Johnson led to the 2010 CIF state championship, played one day after their coach was shot. Assistant coach Ray Jimmerson served as the interim coach the remainder of the season.
Using a fast-paced style emphasizing perimeter shooting, Johnson led Eisenhower to CIF-SS championships in 2003, 2009 and 2010. He began as boys basketball coach as Eisenhower in 1993 and coached for seven seasons before leaving to take the athletic director position at Carter. He returned one year later in 2005 to take over the athletic director position at Eisenhower. He resumed coaching the Eagles boys basketball team in 2006.
Eisenhower is also in need of a head football coach after Vinny Fazio departed for Murrieta Valley after leading the Eagles to a share of the Citrus Belt League championship in his lone season at the helm. Fazio departed after receiving a pink slip from the school district, indicating he wasn’t guaranteed to retain his teaching and coaching positions for the upcoming school year.