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Naming Tennis Courts To Honor Don Johnson 

NorCal Staff  |  July 18, 2017
<h2>Naming Tennis Courts To Honor Don Johnson </h2>
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Parks, Recreation and Neighborhood Services

 

For Immediate Release

Wednesday, July 12, 2017                                        

 

Contact:

Ed Bautista                  

Office: (408) 535-3519                                                                                   

                                                                                    

Dave Mitchell, Park Planner

Office: (408) 793-5528

 

Naming Tennis Courts To Honor Don Johnson

Backesto Park Tennis Courts are now the Don Johnson Courts

 

At 10:00 AM on Saturday, July 29, 2017, the City of San José will unveil the new tennis court signs at Backesto Park to honor the long-time Tennis Instructor, Don Johnson.   The late Don Johnson taught thousands in various tennis programs in San José.  Coach Johnson was the founder of the Los Paseos Lobsters and the Backesto Backhanders Junior Tennis Programs in San José.  Nicknamed “The Tennis Machine” Don Johnson as a tennis instructor was the face of tennis in San José from 1976 to 2014. 

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Coach Johnson started is tennis career in Brooklyn, New York, where he had worked as coach and personal assistant to Arthur Ashe, the great tennis player.  He also helped in setting up that city’s first national junior tennis league program.

 

Don and his family moved to San José in the 1976.  He would show up to his free tennis clinics driving an old Dodge Ram van, painted with a backdrop of the New York skyline, including the Statue of Liberty.  He called the van his “tennis machine” and it was filled with rackets, ball machines, and thousands of tennis balls.  He would put on youth clinics at low costs and free summer youth tennis programs in San José.  Boys and girls of all colors and sizes took their turns in hitting the ball over the net with varying degrees of success.  He impacted many to enjoy the game of tennis by improving their skills.  

 

“Tennis is about more than chasing the ball around,” the late Coach Johnson said.  “It’s about being a gentleman or lady.  It’s about getting your mind interested in the game.  It’s not a game for blacks or whites, but for the elite group of thinkers.”

 

He taught his theory by promoting the dignity of the game to the youth of San José, which he was presented with the Jefferson Award for Public Service in 2006.          

 

He was also a professional player, a 2003 inductee into the African-American Ethnic Sport.

 

Hall of Fame, and in 2004, into the U.S. Tennis Association of Northern California’s Hall of Fame.

 

On February 24, 2015, the San José City Council unanimously voted in favor of renaming the tennis courts at Backesto Park after long-time tennis instructor and local legend, Don Johnson. 

 

The City is calling all former Backesto Backhanders, Los Paseos Lobsters, Alamden Strings, Glen Oaks Racketeers who were coached by Don Johnson to attend this public event by wearing their Old Team Shirts.

 

Please join Don Johnson’s Family, City Officials, and representatives from the U.S. Tennis Association of Northern California to celebrate the Life of Don Johnson and the unveiling of the new tennis court signs in his honor. 

 

The event will begin around 10:00 AM on Saturday, July 29, 2016, at the north end of Backesto Park on Jackson Avenue, between 13th and 15th Streets in the City of San José.  Register Here

 

# # #

 

View Press Release

 

Calling All Former Backesto Backhanders

Los Paseos Lobsters, Almaden Strings

Glen Oaks Racketeers, and Family & Friends

 

You’re Invited to a Celebration of the Life of Tennis Coach, Don Johnson “The Tennis Machine” 

Featured in the METRO News

Best of Santa Clara Valley Edition

September 1988

 

Saturday July 29, 2017

10 am – 12 noon

Backesto Park

13th Street & Jackson Avenue

Register Here

 

The City of San José will unveil the new Backesto Park Tennis Court signs to Honor Coach Johnson

 

  • Please Join Us and Wear Your Old Team Shirts
  • The General Public is also welcome to this event
  • For additional information, please contact
  • Dave Mitchell, Park Planner at 408-793-5528
  • Dave Mitchell, Park Planner at 408-793-5528

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