Athletics & Recreation
Ralph "Boag" Johnson
A native of Huntington, Ralph Johnson graduated from Union Center High School in 1939. He attended Huntington College, but his basketball career there was interrupted by World War II, where Johnson served in the Army. Following the war, he returned to Huntington College. Nicknamed “Boag,” Johnson twice ranked among the top four collegiate scorers in the state.
Johnson then played professional basketball for the Anderson Packers from 1947-50 of the National Basketball League. With Johnson scoring 13 points, the Packers defeated Oshkosh 68-64 to win the 1949 NBL title. Johnson finished second-team all-NBL that season. He moved on to play for the Fort Wayne Zollner Pistons of the fledgling National Basketball Association from 1950-53. The Pistons later relocated to Detroit.
Johnson’s stature as a basketball legend led to a local traveling award being made from one of Johnson’s shoes that was bronzed. The award eventually disappeared before being rediscovered in the 1990s. The shoe is now housed in the Huntington County Historical Museum.
Following his playing career, Johnson moved into the coaching ranks, starting at Columbia City High School from 1953-58. He was athletic director at Columbia City for three years,
then returned to coaching at Warsaw in 1961, eventually wining 160 games over 10 seasons. He also taught physical education, health & safety, driver’s training, and served as a guidance counselor. He initiated the buildings trade program at Warsaw Community High School.
Johnson enjoyed carpentry and built all the homes he lived in since 1968, and he assisted family and friends with a variety of projects. He was also active with American Legion Post 49 of Warsaw.
Johnson was inducted into the Huntington College Hall of Fame in 1975 and the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame in 1995. Johnson died July 11, 2005.