By Michelle Castleman
FORT WAYNE — At midnight on June 30, Andrew Mark Johns may have officially retired from the halls of Bishop Dwenger High School, but he still plans to volunteer at his beloved high school.
A Fort Wayne native, Johns attended Queen of Angels School, Central Catholic High School and Saint Francis College. Johns, 62, went on to spend the next 40 years in education.
“I always wanted to be a teacher,” Johns admits. “And I did not change my major in college.”
His first teaching assignment was at Most Precious Blood School. Johns spent the 1971-72 school year in the Army before a six-year stint at St. Charles School. He then moved on to Bishop Dwenger High School, where he spent the past 32 years.
While at Dwenger, Johns taught social studies, government and U.S. history before becoming the athletic director in 1990.
Andy and Kathy Johns were married 36 years ago at Queen of Angels Church. They are members of St. Charles Parish and have three grown children. Amy, 33, followed in her father’s footsteps and teaches at St. Charles. Meghan, 31, is a nurse in Fort Wayne and Mark, 26, is self-employed and lives in Nevada. The Johns’ have a part-time pet, Violet — Meghan’s dog. They keep the dog while Meghan works.
Johns began his illustrious coaching career starting with the freshman football team at Bishop Dwenger during the 1972 season. From there, he moved his way up through the ranks as junior varsity and assistant varsity coach before serving at the helm of the Saints’ program for 22 years. Under Johns’ leadership, Bishop Dwenger won an amazing 14 sectional titles and three state championships (1983, 1990 and 1991).
In addition to the numerous football accolades, the Saints racked up state titles in gymnastics, girls’ soccer and most recently a 2010 softball banner, while Johns was athletic director.
Johns is most proud of the many awards’ programs implemented during his tenure. The senior plaques is one of these awards. “The plaques are a really neat way to honor our athletes,” Johns says.
Johns will miss the lifelong friendships he has made with the athletes, athletic directors and principals from area schools, but is looking forward to his life slowing down.
“The past 40 years have been a blur,” Johns admits. After years of attending nightly sporting events after working all day, Johns plans to “take time to smell the roses,” golf and enjoy yard work.
“One year has rolled into the next for so long, but I never felt like I was punching a time clock and have found it very satisfying,” he says.
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