SWD coach tells story of journey from foster care to state titles

Southwest DeKalb High School wrestling coach Keith Johnson published a book titled The Blindsided Champ, telling his life story.

Johnson said his book focuses on his journey from foster care to becoming a championship-winning coach.

“The book is about my life story. I grew up in foster care from a young age. I talked about different struggles I had growing up, how I got to college, and how I got to where I am now, being a coach,” said Johnson.

Johnson said the book begins with stories from his days in foster care and depicts how he went from Virginia foster care homes to coaching 15 athletes to state championships in DeKalb. Most recently, the Southwest DeKalb coach led three wrestlers to state championships and one to a runner-up title during the 2022-23 wrestling season.

“I have six siblings. Four of us grew up in foster care going to different foster homes. But I had a great coach in George Miller. He was every athlete’s coach and mentor at my high school. Having that person and someone to look up to made me want to be a coach,” added Johnson.

Johnson said he hopes his book inspires people going through hardships to not give up.

“It’s about teaching these young kids and everyone else that we all get blindsided but to keep pushing through it. Just don’t give up,” said Johnson.

A portion of the proceeds from sales of the book will be donated to local foster care organizations, according to Johnson.

Johnson said he also plans to give free copies of the book to local students who are in the foster care system, and that he is looking for book sponsors to make the donations. Johnson said that Gianna Brown helped author the book and that they plan to do book signings and speak about the book.

Johnson began his career in DeKalb County in 1995 at Columbia High School, Johnson has worked and coached at Clarkston, Columbia, and Southwest DeKalb high schools since.

Johnson’s book is available at: https://theblindsidedchamp.com

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