Kay Johnson began training in 1972. She has won more than 900 since then. This week the former players decided to celebrate her achievement.

MARENSI, MICHAN – Kay Johnson is breathing Marenchi High School.

The Whitmer graduate did just about everything in Michigan’s school district, working as a high school teacher and principal as well as a sports principal.

As a coach, she managed athletics, women’s basketball, volleyball and of course softball.

“It was probably my first love. I played a lot of softball when I was growing up. It wasn’t fast, but it was slow, and I played a lot. The opportunities to play basketball and volleyball weren’t that strong,” Johnson said.

This year, Johnson is celebrating the 50th anniversary of leading the program. For half a century the coach with the “Bulldogs” has happened a lot, including a couple of state titles, more than 900 victories and countless players.

“A lot of players, I coached their mothers,” Johnson said. “I try not to think about the third generation, but I know they are too, so I try not to think about it.”

Softball Morensi is like a big family, so it only made sense to celebrate Johnson’s 50th birthday with an unexpected meeting.

The event was hosted by former players, including Jill Owen and Kyleen Biggs, who have been associated with softball graduates since the 1970s when Johnson began. Owen says Johnson has been more involved in the lives of the players than any other coach.

“She came to every celebration. Academic, athletic. She was at my birthday party,” said Owen, a 2006 graduate. “She is a nominal name and I am someone I knew, loved and trusted all my life.”

Players say no one like “Miss J” has dedicated her life to serving the community.

“Kay there. It’s just a lifelong relationship with Kay once you’ve been on her program and part of her team, ”said Judy Pfund, a 1980 graduate who is also Owen’s mother.

Johnson says it means a lot that so many former players have come together to honor her career.

“It means a lot,” Johnson said. “We enjoyed a lot of games together, a lot of exercise. So for them to come here after I made them run bad wheels in training, it’s really nice.”

50 years and thousands of exercises could not prepare Johnson for such a holiday.

And Johnson has no plans to retire yet. At the event, she said she plans to work for at least the next three seasons.

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