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Dave Johnson Set to be Inducted into West Virginia University Sports Hall of Fame

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado (September 8, 2016)

USA Shooting’s Dave Johnson is one of seven former West Virginia University athletes set to be inducted into the university’s Sports Hall of Fame Saturday during a ceremony in Morgantown. 

Johnson is currently serving as USA Shooting’s Interim Chief Executive Officer following the retirement of Bob Mitchell on August 31.  

Johnson will be inducted alongside six other outstanding contributors to Mountaineer athletics that make up the 26th class of honorees in the West Virginia University Sports Hall of Fame.           

The 2016 class also includes Joby Foley (men’s tennis), Damian Owens (men’s basketball), Don Vincent (men’s basketball), Charity Wachera (women’s cross country/track & field), Grant Wiley (football) and Donnie Young (football).  

Induction ceremonies will take place Saturday, Sept. 10, prior to the West Virginia-Youngstown State football game. This class brings the total number of inductees to 169.  

Maj. David Johnson earned eight first team All-America honors in rifle from 1983-86.           

A native of Hampton, Virginia, Johnson became the second Mountaineer designated as a four-time first team All-American in smallbore and air rifle. Johnson was a national champion in smallbore as a freshman in 1983.           

WVU’s most valuable shooter in 1983 and 1984 led WVU to three team NCAA titles and one runner-up finish during his career. WVU posted a 44-2 record during his career.  A Friday night celebration will award team championship rings to the 1983, 1984, 1986 and 1989 rifle teams. 

“I very much appreciate the recognition and honor of joining the WVU Hall of Fame,” Johnson said. “It is humbling from the perspective of all these years later having a renewed appreciation for my teammates, my coaches, and the WVU athletic department that made my participation even possible.  Add to that an academic faculty that respected student athletes and did their best to help them succeed on and off the field. I owe any recognition I’ve received to my teammates, coaches, and WVU.”        

Asked what he remembers most about his time at WVU, the rifle program and the success he and the team had during his career, Johnson replied: “The atmosphere of family and support. WVU was a fairly large university at the time of about 16,000 students. The town and the university were very supportive and our team was well known throughout the campus. We took care of each other and helped each other excel.” 

The proud WVU alum continues to be amazed by the accomplishments his alma mater continues to achieve in the rifle program.  The pride is evident following a 2016 season in which the Mountaineers claimed their 18th NCAA title, saw the rise of Ginny Thrasher from NCAA Champion to Olympic Champion and then celebrated a double gold-medal run by former rifle shooter Nicco Campriani.  

“It has been very exciting to watch and support the team over the years,” he said. “The WVU team has been a leader in the NCAA Rifle sport family not only in competition results, but in fundraising, booster building, recruiting, management, and representation. Coach Jon Hammond, his assistants, boosters, and army of volunteers have the team well supported and achieving new heights.” 

The two-time CoSIDA Second Team Academic All-American graduated from WVU in 1986 with a bachelor’s degree in finance. Following graduation, Johnson joined the United States Army Reserves and became a member of the United States Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU).           

During his career, Johnson competed for the United States at the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona. He captured one silver and five gold medals at the 1981 Championships of the Americas. He is a multiple Pan American Games and World Cup medalist and earned titles in various U.S. Olympic Festivals. Johnson was a resident athlete at the U.S. Olympic Training Center before beginning his coaching career.           

Johnson alongside eventual 2012 Olympic gold medalist Jamie Corkish during the 2011 ISSF World Cup she won in Fort Benning, Georgia.In 2000, Johnson became the rifle coach at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, where he coached his team to three individual and two team NCAA titles. In 2002, Johnson moved back to Colorado Springs, Colorado, to become the National Rifle Team coach and saw two of his athletes win Olympic medals at the 2004 Olympic Games. He was the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Rifle coach before assuming the role of Director of Operations in 2012. His athletes medaled in World Championships and World Cups and won four Olympic medals (two gold, one silver and one bronze) from 2004-12.           

Johnson has also served as head coach at the 2003, 2007 and 2011 Pan American Games and at the 2006 and 2010 World Championships. His athletes in 2010 won two team World Championships in the open class and one in the junior class. Johnson was a Pan Am Team Leader in 2015.  

Johnson notes that the team experience he encountered while at WVU was critical and still influences everything he’s done and tried to emulate over the years.  “I think focusing on helping those around you succeed creates success and growth for everyone, no matter the profession or situation.”

He is married to WVU Hall of Famer Ann-Marie (Pfiffner) Johnson. They competed together on the 1992 United States Olympic team. The couple resides in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and has one son, Zachary (11).

Editorial support and top two photos provided by WVU Athletic Communications.

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