The Man Behind the Numbers

Assistant Director of Florida A&M sports information Ronnie Johnson, has no offseason, he has no time off and he “plays” all year around.

All sports seasons begin and end. In the fall, it’s  football and when the spring comes, it’s time for baseball. The players and the coaches are different for their respective sports, but the games are still the same.

The idea of having an offseason for the athletes and coaches are expected, but for the people who actually make the games happen it is their time to shine.

“I’ve been here at Florida A&M since 2002,” Johnson said. “I came here when we started to do this stuff by hand, now we’ve moved into the digital age. We do things on Twitter and Facebook.”

Johnson job is based on the university sports. Everything that pertains to athletics at FAMU, Johnson knows about it.

“This job is like a doctor being on call 24/7,” Johnson said. “Unfortunately I missed some important moments like my daughters first step, but luckily I’ve had opportunities to bring my children in my office to spend time with them.”

Having this position, Johnson knows that he may have to go travel with different athletic teams for the school.

“Some schools don’t have a sports information department,” Johnson said. “That requires me to travel with the teams and take care of keeping track of all the information.”

Johnson has spent over 10 years working at various schools and being a part of their sports information programs.

“I was a student working in sports information director at Alcorn State, then I built the program up at Talladega College,” Johnson said. “Then Alabama State for 2 years before I came to FAMU.”

Johnson spends the most part of the year watching and recording sports statistics for FAMU. When he is not working, he tries to find time to relax.

“One thing that relaxes me is when I am on vacation,” Johnson said. “Spending time with my parents is great. I’ll go one week to see my family then I’ll go spend another week at my wife’s family in a two week span and go see some old friends.”

Johnson’s hectic work schedule makes him miss some of his favorite pastimes: Watching cartoons, listening to music and watching old movies.

“When I am not busy with sports information I am catching up with my cartoons and some of my television shows like supernatural and the newest G.I. Joe show,” Johnson said, “As far as music goes, I listen to a variety of artists.”

Vinson Tatum is a volunteer that helps Johnson with sports information. Tatum has known Johnson for over 11 years and met him here at FAMU while Johnson was working for sports information. He was hired by former sports information director, Alvin Hollins Jr.

“I met Ronnie when Alvin hired him,” Tatum said. “I don’t have any funny stories about Ronnie just more chaos he has to deal with; the different coaches, the players and the games.”

The time Johnson and Tatum spent together has created a friendship that has lasted for over a decade.

Even though Johnson and Tatum have found time to laugh and have a good time, work comes first and Tatum described Johnson as being very professional.

“His work ethics is very good. He demands a lot from everybody and he expects perfection not only from himself, but from people who works around him and the student assistants that works under him,” Tatum said. “In order to run a top quality sports information program, you have to demand the best out of yourself and the people you surround yourself with in order to make sure you run a smooth ship.”

Jenny Bury has volunteered to help sports information since 2006, and describes her working relationship with Johnson as a parental.

“He taught me the basics of all sports here at FAMU,” Bury said. “I learned the correct terms for basketball, and how to correctly score baseball and football games. I know how to prepare for a game and providing stats for the media. He is really dedicated to it; he works beyond the call of duty.”

Bury said Johnson is a “workaholic” and if there is some work to be done he might as well just do it.

“He works more than eight hours; he puts his all into it,” Bury said. “He does more than just his job titles he goes the extra mile at work.”

Bury thinks of Johnson as being a responsible, reliable person. She looks to him for advice outside of sports information.

“He is a mentor to me personally. He gives me guidance, he is like a big brother to me,” Bury said. “I really like coming and volunteering my time to help him because I know he doesn’t have a lot of people out there to help him, but I enjoy coming out to help him as much as I can.”