Wayne Joseph’s Blog

Running with the Big Dog

Honokaa’s Johnny Anderson Living a Blessed Life

Johnny Anderson

Two great collegiate football coaches, Don James from the University of Washington and Dick Foster from Coffeeville Community College, were both inducted into the College Hall of Fame.

James coached the Huskies from 1975 to 1992 and accumulated a record of 178 wins 76 loses and 2 ties, while Foster went 127-23-2 during his tenure from 1975 to 1988.

Both of these great coaches had a Big Island connection as they mentored Honokaa’s Johnny Anderson.

Anderson, who is a substitute teacher usually at Honokaa High School and helps the Dragons with coaching their outstanding cross country team, grew up in the farmlands of Edwardsville, Kansas.

“My mom and dad inspired all of their 11 children into participating in sports when we weren’t working on the ranch,” Anderson said.

When Anderson was eight years old he met another legendary coach, John Wooden, while participating in a Kansas City Kings basketball camp at Kemper Arena.

“I was a daredevil with the horses, bulls, goats, pigs and other animals at home,” he said. “I love to go hunting and loved to climb trees, if I wasn’t reading books. My dad did not know what to do with a bookworm.”

Anderson’s two older brothers went into the military at an early age which left the youngster at home to gain the lion’s share of the ranches chores and management.

It was through his pastor, Reverend Roscoe Newton of Pleasant Hill, that Anderson would continue to become inspired in a variety of activities from cub scouts, church activities, and of course, sports.

Anderson went on to play football, basketball, baseball and run track at Bonner Springs High School in Kansas, but it was his impressive football skills that got him into college as a tail back.

“We became National Champs under Coach Foster at Coffeyville and again under Coach James at the University of Washington,” Anderson said.

“Those were fun days playing collegiate football,” Anderson said.  “I got to meet Bobby Bowden, a close friend of Coach James and I met Coaches Jimmy Johnson and Barry Switzer during their recruiting visits to Kansas,” he said.

Today this 40 something year old, solid as a rock, Honokaa resident continues to stay in shape as he trains at Five Mountain Fitness Center in Waimea five to six times per week.

“When school is not in session I will go to the fitness center and work out for five to eight hours as I totally focus on my fitness,” he said.

Anderson will take the Chisel classes along with Martial Arts class, Spin class, Kick Boxing class, Pilates and Yoga.

“My favorite workouts are the Kettle Bell classes along with the Speed, Quickness, Explosive reflex training,” he said.

You’ll also find this fitness enthusiast running on the hills of Honokaa and Kalopa Area or on the cinder track in Honokaa by himself and doing it just for fun.

“Occasionally I will come in to Hilo and run the Waianuenue Road then around to Kinoole Auto Care.  The mechanic at the auto shop, Ralph Fujiyama, fine tunes my vehicle and I will disappear and go for a run,” Anderson said.

Anderson also travels regularly to Oahu to play in the Air-It-Out flag football league in the Top Gun Division.

“I’m preparing myself for other challenges, like the Hawaii Ponoi football team under Coach Cal Lee,” he said.  “

As for diet Anderson is careful in what he consumes and will try to eat natural foods along with the five food groups.

“I usually eat salad with no dressing and some sort of meat with bread,” he said.

And like most of us Anderson does have some weaknesses.

“I have a weakness for sweets, so I will try to eat a lot of fruits and natural sweets from the natural food stores to overcome this desire the best that I can,” he said.

Anderson credits much of his physical conditioning to the hard work he learned to do growing up on the ranch in Kansas.

“I just try to fine tune my body the way that Ralph (Fujiyama) fine tunes my car,” he said.  “I am also grateful that the Good Lord has blessed me and my family.”

“My goals are striving to always be prepared to try new challenges,” Anderson said.  “However with an energetic four year old my time is tested every day.  I’m learning new things as well as things that I forgot or took for granted.”

It is amazing at what incredible, interesting, healthy and fit people that live around us here on Hawaii Island.  Johnny Anderson is just one of the thousands of people living in our community that has an interesting story while continuing to live life to the fullest.


November 1, 2010 Posted by | Profiles | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments