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GUILDERLAND: Johnson gets assistant AD job

This will be Regan Johnson's last season as Guilderland's varsity wrestling coach, but he will be able to keep an eye on the program he's built into a consistent Suburban Council contender.

Johnson was approved by the Guilderland school board as the district's new assistant director of athletics, physical education and health. Johnson replaces Larry Gillooley, who left in January to become Niskayuna's new athletic director.

To take the assistant athletic director's position, though, Johnson had to give up his job as the school's wrestling coach a job he's held for 10 years.

I would say it's a little bittersweet," said Johnson. "I'm looking forward to my new job, but that was one of the stipulations " to give up coaching."

Johnson has done a lot for the Guilderland wrestling program in his tenure. He started a youth wrestling club when he began coaching the varsity team in 1997, which helped spark community interest in the sport.

The increased interest fueled a resurgence in the high school program, which had struggled during the first half of the 1990s. Since Johnson started coaching, Guilderland has been in the top half of the Suburban Council standings every year and has sent several wrestlers to the state tournament.

"I would say turning around the program is my proudest accomplishment," said Johnson. "When I first got there, there was no youth program, and there weren't any kids who considered wrestling to be their No. 1 sport."

Johnson worked tirelessly to make sure the program's momentum was never lost.

"I sacrificed a lot of time with my wife and my kids to work with other people's kids," he said."I wouldn't trade it for anything, though."

One of Johnson's first jobs as assistant athletic director will be to help the district hire his replacement on the wrestling team.

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