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Catching Up With Johnny Darden

Feb. 10, 2012 recently caught up with former Tennessee basketball star Johnny Darden. The Springfield, Tenn., native starred at guard for UT from 1975-79.

Q: You're the head basketball coach at Springfield High School, is that right?
Darden: Right. This is my 29th year at Springfield. I've been the head basketball coach since 1986.

Q: A former Vol manager who is now your assistant coach, Jay Spurlock, told us you don't keep up with your win-loss record or anything like that.
Darden: No I don't. That's not a big thing for me. I couldn't tell you how many I've won or lost. I try not to get caught up in that.

Q: Can you explain why you don't keep up with that stuff?
Darden: Well, I was born and raised here. For me, it's just not about winning games. I was raised here, I know the town and the community and kids that I have. But I don't have to win any ball games to be successful. Every win that we have is through our kids. I'll accept the losses. Maybe I didn't do or say the right thing. But ultimately it's not about that for me. I want my kids to lead a productive life when they leave Springfield High School. I want my kids to go to school and graduate.

Q: What are some of your fondest memories since you've been at Springfield?
Darden: There have been some tournaments that were fun for us. Our kids are competitive. That's always been a highlight for me. To be able to go in and really compete and beat a lot of schools that were a lot bigger than us. I've had an opportunity to meet a lot of good people--coaches, officials and players.

Q: What do you teach at Springfield High School?
Darden: I teach Wellness. It's important to me, especially now. Tennessee has an obesity problem we hear a lot about now so it's important for me to be a good teacher.

Q: Your daughter has been involved with the basketball program here at UT, can you talk a little about your family?
Darden: My daughter Jondra is about to graduate from UT. She worked with the program when she was a freshman. My wife Lynelle is the special education supervisor here in Springfield for our county school system.



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