Pat Johnson steps down as Marshall head soccer coach

As a pastor at a local chapel and the owner of the Marshall Perkins restaurant, Pat Johnson’s time to devote to other activities was already limited. But last summer when he was offered the opportunity to become the head coach of the Marshall High School boys’ soccer team, he decided to try to balance one more commitment while being involved in a sport he has grown passionate about.

Johnson led the Tigers to a 4-10 record in 2012, doubling the team’s win total from the previous season. His son, Trevor Johnson, was the team’s top scorer and also one of its few seniors.

It was a special opportunity to coach his son and lead the program, Johnson said, but the extra responsibility as head coach got to become too much for him to take on. On Wednesday, Johnson told the Independent that he has submitted his letter of resignation to the Marshall School Board so he can spend more time focusing on other obligations.

“I took some time to think about it and (Marshall activities director Bruce Remme) has been great to work with,” Johnson said. “We talked about it recently and I said, ‘I just don’t think I can do that and do it well, and at the same time do the other things that I’m committed to doing well.'”

Johnson said that having his son move on from the program played a factor in his decision to step down, but the main factor was the issue of time.

“Last fall got really really crowded for me, and if I’m going to coach, I’m going to coach and give it my best effort,” he said. “I have other things that I’m committed to giving a lot of my time to.”

Johnson was just the second coach in the short history of the Tiger soccer program, which dates back to 2005. He took over for Brandon Thompson, who resigned after the 2011 season.

Marshall started the 2012 season with five straight losses before rebounding to win four of its last eight regular season games. The Tigers’ season concluded with a 1-0 overtime loss to Willmar in the Section 2A playoffs.

Although Johnson’s time leading the Tigers was brief, Remme said he was “extremely happy” with what Johnson brought to the program.

“He’s certainly passionate about the game and we feel like he did a nice job of instilling his style of play and his philosophy in the students that he was able to work with,” Remme said. “We feel like he’s helped advance the ball, so to speak, with the program and we’ll continue to move in a forward direction. We thank him for all the time and effort that he put into developing the foundation that’s there.”

Before taking over as the high school program’s head coach, Johnson had been involved in the Marshall United Soccer Association for about 10 years. He was committed to growing the sport at the youth level, and he noticed clear advancements being made in growing the high school program in his lone year at the helm.

“We got our participation rates way up in the program,” he said. “I can say that we had a year where we got some good progress going and now somebody can step in and keep it going.

“I think we got the kids back to having fun, working hard but also enjoying the sport and enjoying the team aspect,” Johnson added. “And we taught them how to win some games, too. I feel like our last 10 games of the year that we were in every one of them and we put a really competitive team on the field.”