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Coach Jim Johnson

Leadership Lessons from Half-Court

Meet Coach...

His passion for helping people and his continued involvement with autism support organizations just scratches the surface of what Coach brings to the table (I find that I simply cannot call him “Jim” – I have only ever called him “Coach”). His wisdom about leadership and goal setting, teamwork and the rest of his lessons have helped, not only the audiences that he has spoken to, but he has helped me as well. He is truly a gift in my life and I’m honored to help share his message.

Each summer, the National Speakers Association holds an annual convention. They have a “staff track” and, in a big picture kind of way, I do identify myself as staff. And while I sort of feel bad that I don’t hang with the staff for meals, I’m really glad that I didn’t when I attended the convention in Orlando in 2010. As I entered the ballroom for lunch, I really just did an eeny-meeny-miny-moe in my head and chose a random table to sit at. I knew no one at the table. Simultaneously, the man to my left and I introduced ourselves. He asked me to go first, which I did. I will admit that I didn’t recognize his name as he began to tell me his story. “I’m a high-school basketball coach, and several years ago I inserted one of our autistic students into the game and he went on to score 20 points in 4 minutes even though he had never played with the team.” In truth, he got about as far as “score 20 points” and I rudely interrupted him excitedly telling him I remembered the story and had seen it on ESPN. When I told him I how much loved basketball and had, in fact, danced with Michael Jordan in 1982 we connected immediately.

  • Autism Speaks
  • Boys & Girls Clubs of America
  • Covington County AL School District
  • Excellus BlueCross & Blue Shield
  • Financial Manager’s Association
  • Lincoln Financial Group
  • National Conference on Student Leadership
  • Paychex, Inc.
  • Pontiac
  • Sagemark Consulting
  • US Army Corps of Engineers
  • Virginia Society of Opthalmology

Coach Johnson is a powerful communicator and delivered an incredibly inspiring message to my organization. He brings a wonderful mix of humor, poignancy and life experience that resonates and uplifts. Don’t miss an opportunity to hear him!

SHAWN D. MOON, Executive Vice President


I think it’s a great story — to follow your dream, follow your goals and never ever quit. It’s a great story for people of my age, people of any age.

ESPN Basketball Commentator and Basketball Hall of Famer


Coach Johnson is great to work with! He spoke to several hundred of our team members on how to be a great teammate. Coach tells great stories. He is very authentic and genuine as well as very motivational! I found Coach to be very relatable to all of our team members! I would highly recommend Coach to speak at your company and/or next event!

LIZ HOUGH HALL, Training & Development
C&A Industries


Coach Johnson was a pleasure to work with as our RAAVS Conference Keynote Speaker. Comments from our participants included:
“very clear, concise, and engaging”
“nice balance between theory and practice”
Coach Johnson presented his information on leadership in a very personal and pragmatic manner. He prepared for our group carefully and ensured that our conference started off on exactly the right foot. I would highly recommend Coach Jim Johnson as a keynote speaker or workshop leader.

PAULA LaMANNA, Conference Co-Chair
Rochester Area Administrators of Volunteer Service

Speaker Topics

Dreams Really Do Come True – Keynote

Coach Johnson lived one of the most inspiring and heart-warming stories of the 21st century. In this keynote he shares his six essential keys:

  • Passion – How identifying what you love makes life more exciting
  • Mission – Learning to write down your values and what is most important to you
  • Goal Setting – Imagining the person you would be if you reached at least one breakthrough goal
  • Perseverance – Reflection upon life’s setbacks and how to overcome
  • Carpe Diem – Intentionally setting aside time for the self-improvement that will allow you to pursue something you want
  • Team Work – Learning what a successful team looks like in order to create the most successful team possible
Leadership Lessons from Half-Court – Keynote

Using the remarkable story of J-Mac, Coach Johnson shares his leadership keys that have guided his teams to immense success.  the lessons in this presentation will help you become an extraordinary leader by learning to:

  • Clarify your Vision
  • Build Trust
  • Create an Edge
  • Communicate Effectively
  • Lead by Example
  • Leave a Profit
Dreams Really Do Come True (Workshop 90 minutes to 4 hours)
Dreams in Motion Leadership Development (Workshop 90 minutes to 4 hours)
Setting Goals to Make Your Dreams Come True (Workshop 60-90 minutes)

Print & Audio

A Coach and a Miracle: Life Lessons from a Man Who Believed in an Autistic Boy

This powerful and inspirational book is not just the story of what came to be known as “The Miracle Game.” It is also a lesson-filled book that is the companion to Coach Johnson’s Dream Really Do Come True keynote.

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