I learned this week of the death of Brian Johnson.
Brian was 59.
We met when I was at the Australian Institute of Sport. Brian was the founding head coach of the Rugby League program at the Institute.
He had an enormous impact on my thinking about coaching. I was fascinated by his technical and tactical understanding of the game. He was a remarkable coach of young athletes.
I enjoyed our conversations about coaching and life when he let his guard down and we talked about philosophy.
In his time at the AIS he assembled a remarkable coaching staff around of him. In his absence we talked in whispered voices about his vision and clarity. We shared our awe of him.
I learned from him too the advantages of plain, honest speaking … as well as the power of non-verbal communication.
I did try to tell him how much he had helped me but he usually brushed this off with some of his straightforward speaking.
However, there were moments, when I distracted him with conversations about Warrington, that he almost accepted praise.
I was very fortunate that our paths crossed. I am the better for our meeting and at a loss at his death. Vale.
Roy Masters has writing a beautiful tribute to Brian in The Sydney Morning Herald (18 January).