Shannon Johnson's heart and soul are back in Hartsville

Updated: Oct. 31, 2017 at 11:11 PM EDT
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HARTSVILLE, SC (WMBF) - The former Olympic Gold Medalist has played on basketball courts from the Carolinas to the Mediterranean Coast. She came back to coach at Coker as a means of showing appreciation for many in her native Hartsville.

"Once you're out there playing, you're a coach. I played the point guard position, so I was able to coach a good bit while I was out there. But once you stop playing, you want to give back to womens basketball. And this is my way of giving back," Coker Women's Basketball Head Coach Shannon Johnson said.

Shannon starred as a Gamecock in the early 1990's. She even has her jersey retired by the School. But, she will be a visitor when she leads the Cobras into Columbia Friday.

"It's a whole different locker room. I mean you go to the visitor's side. There probably won't be any drinks or anything, any nice things in there just a regular seat. I'm very fortunate. I'm very blessed to have my team to go out there and compete against the National Champs."

Johnson helped friend and mentor Dawn Staley celebrate the Gamecocks historic achievement back in April. Now she's using Staley's building blocks to build a winner in Hartsville.

"Dawn really set the sights for all of us to reach high and to reach that championship one day."

 Shannon Johnson has made a name for herself in Columbia, the WNBA, and overseas. But there is nothing like the hometown love and support.

"Everywhere I go, I go to Wal-Mart and everybody knows who I am. I'm in there for almost thirty minutes just buying one thing. But the good thing about it is the great support in Hartsville. And doing it now for Coker, for myself and Coach Sam. Both of us being from Hartsville. A lot of the community comes out and supports us," Johnson said.

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