Dara Johnson

DARA JOHNSON, right, a senior Kinesiology major at LSU was awarded the Jinks Coleman Scholarship in December.

Dara Johnson, a senior Kinesiology major at LSU was awarded the Jinks Coleman Scholarship in December.

Johnson is the granddaughter of Elaine Campbell Johnson, formerly of Monterey, and the great-granddaughter of Donald and Kathryn Campbell of Monterey.

Coleman taught and coached at Monterey under principal Donald Campbell her first year out of college. She also taught Elaine Campbell Johnson.

The Jinks Coleman scholarship was funded by a group of Coleman’s friends after she passed away in 2000. She was the first head coach for LSU Women’s Basketball and former faculty member in the Department of Kinesiology.

Coleman is credited with elevating women’s basketball from the club sport level to varsity intercollegiate competition, and donated her own money to finance a women’s basketball scholarship, since LSU did not offer women’s athletic scholarships at that time.

She compiled a 91-32 record as the head basketball coach, and guided the Lady Tigers to the AIAW national championship game in 1977.

Though Coleman was perhaps best known for her legendary coaching accomplishments, those who knew her well easily recognized that her true passion was for teaching. After she left coaching, she built an innovative physical education program at St. Louis King of France School.

She was admired and beloved by her students and the faculty there, but despite the success of her program, she was never satisfied with the status quo and was constantly seeking ways to reach more children and help them succeed in physical education.

Rather than being remembered as a great coach, she wanted people to remember her as a teacher, because she believed that was the most important thing she had done, and this scholarship is a way to remember her teaching.

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