Posted: 2:14 pm Friday, April 1st, 2011
By Matt Porter
Former Pope John Paul II defensive coordinator Travis Johnson is Olympic Heights’ new head football coach, succeeding Mitch Henghold, who resigned March 3 after six seasons.
He was introduced to Olympic Heights students Friday afternoon at the Boca Raton school.
“We’re focusing on mentoring. My mission is to build champions in the classroom, in the community, in life and on the field, obviously,” Johnson said of his first head coaching gig.
Johnson, who turns 40 in July, was defensive coordinator at Pope John Paul II last season under head coach Autry Denson, who resigned this week. The Eagles went 5-5 last season. He takes over Lions club that went 7-3 last year and finished third in District 14-3A. They will compete this year in a realigned District 14-6A with Forest Hill, Okeechobee, Palm Beach Lakes, Sebastian River and South Fork.
“One of the big things that’s going to be part of our mission is getting kids ready for the college experience from the academic standpoint, from the habit standpoint and strength and conditioning standpoints. It’s going to be college prep on all levels,” he said.
Currently a resident of Davie, Johnson graduated from North Miami Beach, where he played for head coach Ron Shycko. He won letters as a defensive back at Central Florida in 1991 and ’92 and graduated in 1994 with a degree in business administration.
From 2005-07 he was an assistant coach at Hialeah under Marc Berman, who was an assistant at North Miami Beach while Johnson played there. Johnson was also an assistant to Roger Harriott at University School from 2008-09 before Denson asked him to join his staff at Pope John.
Prior to coaching, Johnson was a regional director for Bally Total Fitness and was a personal strength and conditioning coach. He lives in Davie with his wife of 12 years, Octavia; two daughters, 16-year-old Tatyana and eight-year-old Mya, and a four-year-old son, Travis Jr.
Johnson met his wife at UCF. She introduced him to Denson, who was a classmate of his wife’s at Nova High.
“He could have been a head coach for the last seven years,” Denson said of his friend. “You watch; Olympic Heights has a good one on their hands now.”