Johnson keeps Wright on top Boys Coach of the Year

Since Bob Johnson arrived at C. Milton Wright six years ago the Mustangs' boys cross country team has always won the Harford County championship.

This fall, the Mustangs so dominated the county that they placed seven runners in the top eight spots at the championship meet.


Johnson, The Baltimore Sun's All-Metro Boys Cross Country Coach of the Year, guided them to the area's most successful season.

The Mustangs never lost to a local team. They dropped only two meets the entire season -- the Harford Invitational to Class 4A powerhouse Quince Orchard and the Class 3A state championship to Walt Whitman.


The Mustangs were ranked No. 1 most of the year. In The Baltimore Sun's final cross country poll, however, they share the No. 1 spot with Westminster despite having beaten the Owls twice -- at the Westminster Invitational and in a quad meet.

The key to Johnson's success this season was the extraordinary depth of his squad. All-Metro Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year Brian Harris led the way, followed by Greg Stephen and Steve Donohue in a weekly battle for the team's second spot. Troy Morse, Chad Boyle, Kevin Koffenberger and Chris Parkinson ran close behind.

"It helps us a lot that we're seven deep," said Johnson during the season. "If we were five deep, one guy could really hurt us tremendously, but seven gives us more depth than most teams we run against."

Coaching cross country is a family affair for Johnson and his wife, Barbara, the Mustangs' girls coach the last 13 years. Both teams won county titles this fall, and the Johnsons were The Baltimore Sun's Harford County Cross Country Coaches of the Year.

"In this sport, if you put the effort into it, you get better," said Bob Johnson, a math teacher. "I like to watch kids improve whether they're the best runner on the team or the 50th.