Photo Gallery: Coach shot in San Bernardino
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REDLANDS - There were still plenty of shock waves rippling through the Eisenhower High School community at Tuesday evening's boys basketball game, the first since head coach Steve Johnson was shot the night before.
There was amazingly little surprise, however, that the coach was able to drive himself away from the scene after taking four rounds in the upper torso at 8 p.m. at Secombe Lake Park on Fifth Street in San Bernardino.
"That's Steve," said Curtis Clarendon, father of Eisenhower junior guard Terry Clarendon. "I mean, (Johnson) even runs with the kids during lunch. There's a reason he's able to yell at the kids the way he does. He's just a tough guy."
At a meeting called by Eisenhower principal Art Sanchez Tuesday afternoon summoning every employee on campus, the message to the staff was to emulate Johnson's toughness in order to help the students through the ordeal.
"(Johnson) is an ornery sun of a gun," Eisenhower head football coach Vinny Fazio said while in attendance at Tuesday's basketball game.
"Only he could make it through something like that. I personally don't know what to do because I've just been in shock all day. It's just so sad that this happens to a guy who devotes his life to kids and we're all just hoping he's going to be OK."
Assistant coach Ray Jimmerson, who coached the team to a 62-33 win over Redlands High School Tuesday night, declined comment after the game. The players and coaching staff were escorted by security to their locker room and then quickly to a bus after the game.
Johnson, also Eisenhower's athletic director, influenced far more than just the basketball team since beginning at a math teacher at the school in 1992.
The news of the shooting involving Johnson trickled down to the basketball players and their parents Tuesday morning.
Junior Marquane Harris somberly delivered the news to his father, Marvin Harris, Tuesday afternoon but led a spirited effort once time for the game arrived.
The Harris family has sent two boys through Johnson's program, including Marvelle Harris, who is playing at Fresno State.
"He did nothing but good things for my boys," Marvin Harris said of Johnson. "They don't live in a good neighborhood and they haven't ever gotten in any trouble because he keeps them busy. I don't understand why this would happen to him. He's the wrong guy."
Neither Eisenhower's staff members nor the basketball players' parents were able to shed any light on why Johnson stopped at Secombe Lake Park.
"I think it's sad that people are even asking about that," Fazio said.
"He lives in Yucaipa and they had practice at the school. The park is in between those two places. What's he doing there? He lives around there."