mark_johnsonA life-long Salem resident and one of the first outstanding “big men” in Salem basketball, Mark Johnson, was inducted into the Salem High School Sports Hall of Fame in 1988.

Johnson was a member of the 1947-48 basketball team that compiled a 27-3 season mark, the best in Salem’s history. With Johnson leading the way, Salem was North Egypt Conference champion with an 11-1 record. That team was also inducted into the Hall of Fame. Johnson, at 6’5″ was the tallest of the Wildcats that year, leading the team in scoring with 429 points. When he was a junior, the Wildcats also won the North Egypt title, also with an 11-1 record. In high school, in addition to basketball, Johnson also participated in football and track.

After graduating from high school, Johnson attended the University of Illinois and Southern Illinois University, graduating in 1953, and he played basketball there. He served in the Air Force from February, 1954, to February, 1956, and in August of 1956 was hired to teach in the Salem Grade School system at Oak Park and Central. At the same time he was junior varsity basketball coach at SCHS, a position he held until 1975. He also served as assistant football coach at SCHS.

In 1957, he moved to Salem Junior High School as a teacher and continued as junior varsity basketball coach at the high school. He was hired to teach in the high school in 1960, and was appointed Assistant Principal in 1985. With his retirement in 1988, he completed 32 years in the Salem school system.

Johnson was selected to the North Egypt Conference All-Star Team in 1948 and was named as first team center on the All-State Teams selected by the Champaign News Gazette and the Chicago Daily News.

He and his wife, Imogene, have one daughter, Janelle Edwards, and two grandchildren.