The mother of University of Louisville basketball player Jaylen Johnson, Janetta Johnson admits it will be a challenge supporting her son and becoming a high school basketball coach once next season begins.
But she’s determined to make it work.
Janetta Johnson has been named the girls basketball coach at Central High School, inheriting a program that finished 17-11 last season after falling in the first round of the Seventh Region Tournament. She replaces Ashley Franklin, who stepped down after an eight-year stint.
Franklin left Central after her husband, Chris, was hired as an assistant football coach at the University of West Georgia.
Janetta Johnson moved to Louisville from Michigan in 2014 when her son joined the U of L basketball program as a freshman.
“I came here to support my kids … and I didn’t want anything distracting me from that,” said Johnson, whose other son, Lawrence, graduated from Evangel Christian this year. “Now that they’re older they need to be men and I need to allow them to do what they’re doing.”
The 6-foot-4 Janetta Johnson was a standout player at the University of Wisconsin, setting a single-season school record with 130 blocked shots during the 1988-89 season. She played 4 1/2 seasons professionally in Portugal.
She’s been involved in coaching for several years, helping coach Jaylen’s AAU team from the third to ninth grade and spending two seasons as an assistant coach with the women’s program at Michigan-Dearborn. She also coached the boys basketball team at Willow Run High School in Ypsilanti, Michigan.
Since moving to Louisville, she’s been involved in real estate and following Jaylen’s career at U of L.
“I may have to miss some of my son’s games this year, and I’m not excited about that,” she said. “There’s no one I love more than my two children. But I feel like if I can reach out and help others, that’s a blessing. … We’ll just take it one day at a time.”