The College of Charleston will always be home for Anthony Johnson.
The former Stall High School and College of Charleston star returned to the campus on Saturday for the first time since he withdrew his name from consideration for the school’s head basketball coaching position this past summer.
Johnson, who played 13 seasons in the NBA, was back on campus for the school’s alumni game and homecoming weekend.
Johnson was considered the front runner to replace Doug Wojcik as the Cougars head coach back in August. Johnson, however, withdrew his name from consideration after he told school officials that he had pleaded no contest to a disorderly conduct charge stemming from a domestic dispute three years ago.
“This is my home and this is my school and I support this school and this program 100 percent,” Johnson said. “Things didn’t work out, the timing wasn’t right, and unfortunately I missed out on a great opportunity to come back home and coach my alma mater. I’ve been faced with obstacles and adversity before in my life and I’m working toward rectifying that situation.”
Johnson said he didn’t hesitate to return to the downtown campus when he was invited to play in the Cougars alumni game.
“I’ve been in constant contact with the administration and people in the community and they’ve been very supportive of me,” Johnson said. “In life, things happen, you learn from the mistakes you make and try to become a better person. Everyone has welcomed me back with open arms today. It was great see a lot of old friends. I still feel like I’ve got tremendous support in this community.”
Johnson said he still has an ambition to coach at some level in the near future.
“Being out of the NBA for the last five years I have missed that competition on a nightly basis,” said Johnson, who is a scout for the NBA’s New Orleans Pelicans. “I’m dying to compete every night and coaching is the one thing that will allow me to feed that beast. I think coaching is in my future, sooner than later.”
Johnson said he has been in touch with current Cougars coach Earl Grant since the beginning of the season. Both are former Stall High School graduates.
“I’ve known Earl a long time and he and I have been in contact with each other during the season,” Johnson said. “Things didn’t fall my way here, but I don’t think the College could have gotten a better guy for the job. He has my total support and I think he’s going to get this thing going in the right direction.”