Johnson ‘honored’ to enter WKU’s Athletic Hall of Fame


Kurt Carson

Former men’s basketball forward

Kannard Johnson reached many milestones while playing at WKU from


Johnson is the only Topper in

history to earn All-Sun Belt Conference honors for four straight

years and currently sits seventh on WKU’s all-time scoring


His honors and achievements during

his tenure will be recognized at Homecoming this weekend with his

induction into the WKU Athletic Hall of Fame.

Johnson said the acknowledgement

“means everything” to him.

“It means that the work that I did

there is very well appreciated,” Johnson said. “It’s probably the

best honor — the most important honor that I could’ve received in

my life so far.”

However, Johnson said he expected

nothing less of himself than to go out and perform the way he


“I was highly recruited coming out

of high school,” Johnson said. “I was known as a scorer and as a

pretty good offensive basketball player when I played.”

Johnson played to his potential,

setting the WKU record for games started. He remains third on that

list to this date.

Former men’s basketball player Steve

Miller, who played with Johnson for three years, said Johnson’s

hard work ethic was visible from the moment he arrived on the


“I’ll never forget coach (Clem

Haskins) walking me in to the gym and pointing to Kannard saying,

‘He got a lot of awards as a freshman,’” Miller said. “He said he

led the Sun Belt in a couple of categories and pointed out that

he’s right there working on his game still.

“It was a heck of a sight to see a

guy that fit with all his physical gifts still working on his game

early in the summer.”

Johnson used those gifts and

athleticism to lead the Toppers in dunks all four years, including

setting the single-game school record with six.

However, probably the biggest moment

in Johnson’s career was a buzzer-beater he hit against West

Virginia to give WKU a 64-62 victory in the opening round of the

1987 NCAA tournament.

“That was a really, really special

moment,” Johnson said. “That play wasn’t even designed for me. For

Tellis (Frank) to see me wide open and hit that shot was pretty

special, most importantly because we advanced to the next


Johnson’s teammate and former WKU

guard Brett McNeal said it was Johnson’s composure in atmospheres

similar to the West Virginia game that made him such a special


“He always seemed poised and he

always seemed relaxed,” McNeal said. “He was always very, very

confident about his playing ability and what he was capable of


Johnson’s confidence and poise came

from the fact that he simply “loved” the four years he played at


Former men’s basketball trainer

Randy Deere said he could tell Johnson loved the game from the

moment he met him.

“He knew that he could use the game

to better himself, and that’s what he did,” Deere said. “He took

the opportunity that was afforded him and made the best of