The name Leo Johnson has been synonymous with wrestling since 1960 when his coaching mastery began at East Syracuse-Minoa and concluded at Baldwinsville.
In his 25 years of coaching (four at ESM and 21 at Baldwinsville), Johnson compiled an astounding dual meet record of 306-42-5 for a career winning percentage of .878. Under Johnson, the Bees won 14 Onondaga League Wrestling Championships, eight Section III Class A Championships, and eight Section III Tournaments wrestling titles. From 1978 to 1981, Johnson’s teams were the top-ranked dual meet team in the state.
Johnson won numerous Coach of the Year honors, including Northeast Regional Coach of the Year in 1974. In 1980, he was selected National Wrestling Coach of the Year by the National High School Athletic Coaches Association.
A graduate of SUNY Cortland, he is a member of its Athletic Hall of Fame. Other honors include induction into the state High School Wrestling Hall of Fame and the National High School Hall of Fame. In 1998, Johnson was inducted into the National Amateur Wrestling Hall of Fame in Slitter, OK. Johnson, who retired from education in 1994, has been one of the most sought after speakers on the subject of high school wrestling, traveling to 21 different states, the Virgin Island, Canada and the former Soviet Union for clinics and conventions.
1960: Began his coaching career at East Syracuse-Minoa
1974: Named Northeast Regional Coach of the Year; member of the United States Olympic Committee
1978: Received the Blind Men and Criers annual “John Arcaro Coaches Award” given to a high school coach for outstanding success in their sport
1980: Named National High School Coaches Association Coach of the Year
1985: Retired from coaching
1993: Inducted into the New York State High School Wrestling Hall of Fame
1998: Inducted into the National Amateur Wrestling Hall of Fame