DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Former Bethune-Cookman University Athletic Director Lloyd “Tank” Johnson,” recognized by many as the father of what is today’s Florida Classic, passed away Sunday. He was 77.
A 1958 graduate, Johnson served as athletic director from 1972 to 1991, His visionary leadership oversaw the Wildcats’ ascent to Division I and partnership with Florida A&M’s Hansel Tookes in laying the groundwork for the Florida Classic, which made its debut in Tampa in 1978. The archrivals had met to capacity crowds at Florida State University, Daytona International Speedway and Orlando, the current site, prior to that.
Johnson also served as a defensive coordinator for the Wildcat football team from 1961-78 in addition to coaching track and field in the days where coaches would oversee multiple sports.
He was named to the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Hall Of Fame in 1995 and is also included in several addition halls of fame, including the 100-percent Wrong Club of Atlanta.
As a student, Johnson was on the Wildcat football, basketball, track and golf teams in 1952-54. After a two-year stint in the army he returned to B-CC in the fall of 1956 and competed in football, golf and track for the next two school years before graduating with a bachelor’s degree in physical education in 1958.
Johnson also served on the City of Daytona Beach Planning Board.
He is survived by his wife, Gwendolyn, and was preceded in death by his daughter, Crystal Lynn.
Funeral arrangements have yet to be announced. Please visit www.b-cuathletics.com for updates and continued coverage of the passing of a Wildcat legend.