Walhalla head coach Padgett Johnson not paid to lead Razorbacks

Published: Nov. 7, 2022 at 6:52 PM EST
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WALHALLA, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - Padgett Johnson begins his day at Johnson Electric Company.

“My father started the business in 1965, and then I’ve worked here in some capacity since I was 12 years old.” Padgett Johnson, owner/President of Johnson Electric Company, said.

He exchanges the hard hat for the headset, as the head coach of the Walhalla varsity football team.

“I am living in kind of two different worlds and my phone can ring and I have to quickly change,” Johnson said. “I’d be talking about electrical work at, on one phone call, and then the next minute I’m talking football.”

Almost 7 years ago, Johnson was hired by Walhalla. Not to coach, but to look into new stadium lights.

“Naturally we’re on the football field. So we started talking about football,” Johnson said. “Found out they had a coaching vacancy. And I knew one of the guys with the district pretty well. He just said, “Hey, you oughta give it a shot.”

And so he became Coach Johnson. A job he doesn’t get paid to perform.

“There was a lot of things that the program needed,” Johnson said. “We just decided that it, I would work for, for no, no salary or no stipend, and I wanted that stipend to, to go back into the program.”

After going 20 years without a winning season, the Razorbacks have made the playoffs 6 of the past 7 seasons.

“At the end of the day it really all starts with Coach Johnson and you know, his love for football and passion for it.” Bob Thomas, Walhalla defensive coordinator, said.

“He’s made a huge difference just in the morale and people being excited about Walhalla football,” Allan Seigler, Walhalla Athletic Director, said. “That hadn’t happened in a long time.”

“What he’s meant to this community, to this program, it’s been huge,” Chris Parish, Walhalla parent, said. “It’s hard to measure that. They’ve gone on to do things that they probably didn’t think they were able to do.”

Johnson has found value in more ways than the bottom line.

“You can spend your life chasing monetary gains and at the end of the day, that’s all you’ll have,” Johnson said. “Serving and working with people, the rewards you get for that are so much greater.”