How many coaches have produced over twenty-three (23) 55+ foot shot putters, and have twenty 20+ throwers over 160 in the discus? NONE THAT WE KNOW OF.
As an athlete, Tony was an All Orange County athlete in both football and track, where he was 59-foot shot putter at Huntington Beach High School. As a collegian, he became a javelin thrower—first at Orange Coast College, then at the University of Hawaii—where he recorded a best of 244’ 0”. As a sub master athlete, Tony was the 1989 National Champion in the shot put and continued to throw the javelin in Masters Competition where he has a best of 214’ 4”.
Tony started his track & field coaching career in 1979 at Damien High School in Hawaii. He moved to Edison H.S. in Huntington Beach, CA in 1982, where he also coached football and weightlifting. He moved to Newport Harbor High School in 1989, then to Huntington Beach H.S. in 1997, then back to Newport Harbor in 2005—where he continues to coach the discus throwers,short put throwers, football, and weightlifting.
High school champions that Tony has produced include eight 60-ft shot putters, and eight 180-ft discus throwers, including three over 200’ Scott Moser (213′ 11″) and Bo Taylor (213′ 7″)—the #1 and #2 prep discus throwers in California history along with Ethan Cochran who threw 201’4” to win the Silver Medal at the World Championships in Lille France this past summer. In total, he has coached 40 California State Meet qualifiers, 4 State Champions, 5 National Scholastic Meet Champions, 3 Golden West Meet Champions, and 6 High School All America performers. In 1994 Tony was selected California Track Coach of the Year.
One of America’s premier throws coaches, Tony has been coaching post-collegians for more than 15-years, including 1992 Olympian Brian Blutriech (discus), U.S. Olympic Trials finalists Erik Johnson (1996/discus), Melisa Weis (1996 & 04/discus), and Carl Brown (2000 & 04/discus). Since 2006, he has been coaching 3-time Olympian Jason Tunks (discus), 2-time Olympian Lieja Tunks (discus & shot), 2003 U.S. World Championship Team member Nick Petrucci (discus), and Sam Lightbody (discus).
In weightlifting, Tony coached 2000 Olympian Cara Heads, he has also coached 15 qualifiers for the Senior National Championships along with 35 qualifiers for the U.S. Junior Championships, seven (7) National Junior Champions, and two (2) National Junior record holders. His daughter Maryn was the 2006 National Collegiate Weightlifting Champion and his daughter Katelyn, (a member of VSA) was a 2-time Big West Champion and NCAA Championships qualifier in the discus while at Long Beach State.
Tony has also been the defensive coordinator and strength coach for the Newport Harbor football program since 1989. In his time at Newport the football team has reached the CIF Finals 7 times, winning 3 CIF Championships 1994, 2000, and 2005.
Coach Johnson was an Arizona high school state champion in the Discus in 1988. Considered small and a bit undersized, Erik decided to attend Mt. San Antonio College, Mt SAC, and from there was recruited by several school after growing nearly 2 inches and adding 35lbs of body weight. Erik attended throwing powerhouse UCLA from 1990-1992, and completed his final year of eligibility for the University of Colorado in Boulder finishing as an NCAA All-American in the discus, and school record holder in the 35# weight throw. He continued to train and throw as a post collegiate, was part of the USATF Olympic Development program from 1995-1997, Top 10 ranked in US in 1996 (US Ranked #8, #32 World List), and a US Olympic Trials Finalist 96′ with a personal best of 207′5″ (63.20 m)
Today, Coach Johnson is the Head strength & throws coach at Arete Throws Nation in Phoenix, AZ and Laguna Niguel, CA, and founder of Arete Strength in Phoenix, AZ and Laguna Niguel, CA. Erik first met Tony in 1995 when he needed a place to train and coaching with his Olympic lifting technique. Erik quickly learned a lot, and Tony became mentor, friend, and coach. In 1996 Erik helped coach at the throws clinic, and in 1997 Erik become the Co-director to help grow the clinic with the goal of promoting the throws and helping to increase the number of high quality coaches and throwers in the state of California.
Erik is a great believer in the level of Tony’s knowledge first hand, and knows that he is an expert throws and weight training coach. After some initial coaching in the weight room and in the ring, in 1995, Erik was working with Tony full-time in preparation for the 1996 Olympic Track & Field trials and that year added 15 feet to his Discus PR that season. Erik threw over 199′ in over 10 competitions that year.
At Arete Throws Nation, Coach Johnson coaches throws coaches and throwers all over the nation using his throws coaching system called The Throwing Chain Reaction™ system (TCR™). He also has the TCR™ system available online which has made the TCR™ system a world wide nation of awesome throws coaches and throwers who have found it to be a valuable tool and have seen big successes. Arete Throws Nation has produced 81 championship titles since 2013, and each year it keeps on growing! If you would like to learn more about the TCR™ system, click here, and learn how you can see real results- FAST!