Jason Johnson coached Alexandria’s to 19 victories and an area championship this season. The Valley Cubs fought through key injuries to accomplish that.
Adversity meeting accomplishment typically leads to coach-of-the-year awards, but Johnson and the Valley Cubs faced far worse than a knee injury that claimed starting point guard Adam Young for most of the season.
For guiding Alexandria through the in-season death of junior guard Kam Crumley, and to a 19-6 finish, Johnson is The Anniston Star’s Class 4A-6A Calhoun County boys basketball coach of the year.
Crumley was critically injured in Dec. 12 automobile accident, while on the way home from practice. He died 19 days later from complications, including a stroke.
In that time and afterward, Johnson had to do far more than draw Xs and Os and give pep talks. He helped drive players back and forth to Birmingham to see Crumley at UAB Hospital.
Johnson put center Landan Williams, Crumley’s best friend, in charge of finding ways to honor Crumley.
Johnson consoled his team and even eulogized his fallen player at Crumley’s celebration of life.
On the court, Alexandria won the Champions Sports Academy Christmas Classic, which started a week after Crumley’s accident. The Valley Cubs made the Calhoun County semifinals and won their area before falling to Center Point in the sub-regional round.