Fan Zone

Billy Johnson | YSU Athletics Hall of Fame

Billy Johnson

  • Men's Basketball (1968-72)
  • Inducted 1988

During an era when long hair and protests on college campuses overshadowed the athletic feats of many an athlete, the only protests lodged against guard Billy Johnson were of his opponents for no matter how they tried to stop him, it seemed that it wasn’t in the cards. A native of Canton, Ohio, Johnson graduated from Canton Lincoln HS and had nowhere to go to college to play basketball until fate brought head coach Dom Rosselli and Johnson together on the campus of Malone College, Johnson playing in a pick-up basketball game in the gymnasium and Rosselli coaching baseball for the Penguins. When Rosselli saw Johnson playing, he invited the youth to visit the campus and after Johnson saw Youngstown State, it seemed like a marriage made in heaven. When Rosselli told Johnson’s mother that his college education would be paid for for the next four years, and he’d see to it that Billy got a fair chance to play on the basketball team, Billy’s mother didn’t hesitate to ink the scholarship for it was an education that she felt was most important for her son. Four letters later, Johnson was one of the main cogs responsible for an 81-26 overall record during 1968 to 1972, hooped 1,726 point in his career (still good enough for sixth spot on the all-time scoring list), and in the process handed out most assists than a traffic cop in downtown New York City. His 20 consecutive free throws made during the 1970-71 season were a record at the time, and it still stands as the third best consecutive mark today. Currently the Director of Parks and Recreation in the city of Canton, Ohio, Johnson still finds time to play basketball, most notably in the YSU Alumni games every January.