jim johnson
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$3000 - $5000/exp

New York Based

Coach Jim Johnson

"Dreams Really Do Come True"


Dear Event Coordinator,

When you are in charge of an event, all eyes are on you. You don’t want to disappoint your people! You want a big win. In fact, you want to make sure

you entertain everyone and really bring home your event message.

How are you going to make sure that everybody in your group has a great time? Good News: You don’t have to go it alone! We’re here to help.

Here’s what will happen when you book the inspiring, motivational, true story of Coach Jim Johnson and J-Mac to your next special event…

Your people will come up to you and thank you for changing their lives!

Audiences of all types are always touched and deeply inspired by Jim’s life-changing message about the power of the human spirit.

Dreams Really Do Come True! is a timely feel-good message that leaves people feeling re-charged and optimistic about the contribution they can make with their lives and the difference they can make in the lives of those around them.

It’s rare to find someone who can take you far beyond a motivational talk and into a transformational experience of the magic of passion, perseverance, and the power of teamwork.

A few of the organizations that have been delighted by Coach Jim Johnson include:  PONTIAC, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, The Ladders, Paychex Inc, the National Conference on Student Leadership, and the Social Security Administration.

Coach Jim Johnson’s message Dreams Really Do Come True! is a slam-dunk success with business groups, associations, schools, and religious organizations.

Use Coach Jim Johnson as a memorable conference kick-off opener, a rousing closing keynote message, or for a dynamic after-dinner presentation.

Keynote Messages

With Coach Jim Johnson, you can provide your attendees with Inspiration + Content.

Coach Jim has been inspiring and leading one of the toughest audiences (our youth) for over 28 years. He is an authority on what it takes to make dreams come true, teamwork, leadership and motivating your team. He can customize his message around your event theme and program goals.

• Dreams Really Do Come True

Coach Johnson shares one of the most inspiring and heart warming stories of the 21st century. He shares his six essential keys: Passion, Mission, Goal setting, Perseverance, Carpe Diem, and be a team player to help each audience member have their Dreams come true.

• Leadership That Makes Dreams Come True

Leadership that makes dreams come true”. Coach Johnson shares the remarkable story of J-Mac and his six leadership keys that has helped his teams to immense success. Become an extraordinary leader by learning how to clarify your vision, build trust, creating an edge, communicating effectively, leading by example, and leaving a profit.


• Dreams Really Do Come True (90 mins. to 4 hours)

This vision oriented workshop guides participants through the 6 essential key principals which Coach Johnson has used to lead his high school varsity basketball team to extraordinary success. In this workshop, participants discover how to help team members work from their strengths, value others and achieve breakthrough performance. This workshop affects the bottom line in both your personal and professional lives.

• Leadership Workshop (90 mins. to 4 hours)

Dreams In Motion Leadership Development workshop. This innovative workshop helps participates see their vision more clearly, develop increased confidence in their abilities, and reach levels of leadership achievement previously thought impossible.

Coach Johnson came and shared his inspirational story with our whole team of 225 employees and moved us to tears. Anybody who has seen the video of the game can’t help but be inspired by it. But what we found even more engaging about Coach Johnson’s presentation was “the story behind the story. I can recommend him to any group as a speaker.  - Marc Cenedella, CEO & Founder, TheLadders.com

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. - Dick Vitale, ESPN Basketball Commentator and Basketball Hall of Famer

Your Convocation speech on August 18th certainly exceeded our expectations. Addressing the staff members of three districts at one setting can be challenging, but the delivery of your message was perfect!

Teachers and administrators from all three districts made numerous comments about your presentation on “Dreams Really Do Come True”. They were highly complementary and appreciated your willingness to share your personal feelings about the many experiences you have encountered during your career.

As educators, we face many challenges every day. The fact that you were a successful teacher facing such challenges gave you a great deal of credibility with the audience. It was so heartwarming to learn about your relationship with J-Mac. After all, it is those types of relationships that allow students to reach their highest potential. I hope that you continue to share your special story with educators throughout the country. - Dr. Lani Randall, Superintendent, Port Neches-Groves ISD

Jim gave him that opportunity. You do the right thing like that, you may change a life forever. - John Calipari,
Head Basketball Coach, University of Kentucky Wildcats

Back in September we were honored to have Coach Jim Johnson give a key note speech at our yearly convention in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Coach Johnson was nothing but pleasant from the time that we picked him up at the airport to the time that we dropped him off. On top of being an all around great guy, Coach Johnson inspired and motivated people to believe in themselves and have the courage to not give up on their dreams.

From the first sentence to his closing remarks Coach Johnson had the audience in a trance. It really was amazing to see someone capture an audience of 4,000 and have them transitioning from crying to laughter in an instant.

We were very pleased with his performance and how he handled himself on and off the stage. In our eyes Coach Johnson’s speech added a missing link that we feel reached out to people in a way that we were unable to.

In closing, we in no way regret having Coach Jim Johnson speak at our event and would recommend him to anyone that is looking to motivate and inspire their group. - Jeff Higginson, Senior VP of the Americas

I was in Lake Placid when the Americans beat the Soviets in 1980, I saw Kirk Gibson’s home run in 1988, I saw the Red Sox come back on the Yankees in ’04, I saw the ball roll through Bill Buckner’s legs in 1986. I wish I had been there to watch Jason in person. That was one I missed. - Mike Lupica,
New York Daily News columnist and ESPN commentator

Jim’s story proves that if we as humans will strive to treat everyone with respect and dignity, that we can truly make a difference in their lives.  Every person, young or old, can take a piece of Jim’s story and apply it to their personal situation, giving hope and meaning to the fact that “DREAMS REALLY DO COME TRUE!! - Tim McMullen, Letchworth Central School, Athletic Director, Head Football Coach, Head Basketball Coach

The Miracle Night......

On the night of February 15, 2006, the bleachers at Greece Athena High School near Rochester, New York, were packed with students who had just begun cheering wildly and jumping up and down. During that same moment, I collapsed into my seat as tears welled in my eyes.

Never before had I made a coaching move with such impact. Never had I felt such emotion in my career. You’d think we had just won a championship. It wasn’t a buzzer-beating basket; it wasn’t a heave from half-court that made the place go nuts. In fact, it wasn’t even a specific play. All I had done was turn toward the player with uniform number 52, point my index finger at him, and say “J-Mac.”

Up bounced Jason McElwain. In giving him some playing time, I enabled him to realize a lifelong dream. It was the last home contest of his senior year, and Jason was seeing his first varsity action.

Now this might seem like a fairly ordinary moment, but Jason wasn’t your ordinary basketball player. He was small and skinny. He stood all of 5 feet, 7 inches and weighed only 120 pounds, and his blond hair was partially covered by a head band.

Jason—or J-Mac, a tag I had hung on him two years earlier when he first managed for us—was so excited to enter the game that he started right for the basketball court without first checking in and had to be redirected to the scorer’s table. But very few people noticed that; they were just so happy to see him get in the game.

Why? Because Jason is autistic and learning-disabled. Knowing his limitations, the crowd was moved and so was I upon Jason entering the game.

Throughout the night J-Mac—and the increasingly impatient spectators—had wondered if I was ever going to play him. Finally, with 4:19 remaining in the game, a large lead and all my other substitutes having seen action, J-Mac ascended his stage with the fanfare of a rock-and-roll star. In fact, many fans had brought blow-up photos of Jason attached to wooden sticks, and they began furiously waving the placards upon his grand entrance.

My simple reason for playing Jason was because I loved the kid and wanted to give him the shot he deserved. I didn’t do any of this for hype, but what a beautiful scene nonetheless. That was enough reward right there for me.

When play resumed Jason promptly launched an air ball, and I put my head in my hands. Prayer supposedly isn’t allowed in public schools, but I started praying for all I was worth: “Please, God, let him make just one basket.”

He then missed a layup. I started praying harder.

Fortunately, God must be a basketball fan. And he apparently had a message to deliver to the rest of the world that night. In fact, I believe it was nothing short of a miracle.

Jason soon rattled home an historic three-point basket, creating complete bedlam. And that was just the beginning. If his making one basket was a shock, there are no words to describe what happened afterward. With his teammates looking to pass him the ball at every opportunity, Jason launched 13 shots in all and made seven—including six three-pointers. That’s 20 points in half a quarter, making him the game’s high scorer, as we won 79-43.

As the game’s final seconds ticked off, I got a tap on my shoulder and it was J-Mac’s mother, Debbie McElwain in tears. She said, “Coach, this is the nicest gift you could have ever given my son.” She then bent down and gave me a kiss on the cheek.

It was a story that had all the makings of a major inspirational event even if J-Mac hadn’t scored, or if he had just nailed a three-pointer and then come right out of the game. But scoring 20 points in the game’s last 3:11? A high-school team can’t score at that pace. Projected over an entire 32-minute game, that’s a ratio of about 200 points per game.

However, there was a lot more going on than a scoring rampage if you look closely at the video. You see Jason’s teammates passing to him exclusively. All the players going crazy on the bench for each shot that fell.Jason being engulfed by players and fans after swishing in his last shot at the buzzer, from NBA range. Students hoisting Jason on their shoulders as he raised a basketball high above his head in triumph. It was a complete celebration of humanity. They’re actions that elate me, based on the life lessons I’ve tried to teach during my career.

In just a few minutes’ time this diminutive 17-year-old had turned the tables on a lifetime largely filled with social isolation due to his autism. Beginning the next day, J-Mac and I were thrust onto the national stage in ways that almost never happen in high-school athletics.Thanks to some amateur video by a student volunteer and the power of the Internet, this story was picked up by major media outlets around the world. Jason and I subsequently appeared on all kinds of talk shows and newscasts.

Reports continue to live on today through various YouTube postings (including my personal favorite, an ESPN feature that reveals just how deeply J-Mac’s big night moved me. I show that piece at all my public-speaking appearances and still get choked up looking at it.) I’ve also received several hundred letters, phone calls, and e-mails praising me for giving J-Mac a chance and remarking on how deeply inspiring the event was.

I’ve read and heard, many times over, the Gospel accounts of miracles performed by Jesus. These acts typically involved common, everyday folks. Some of them had disabilities. All had faith, and they became a positive example for others.Therein, to me, lies the meaning behind the miracle of February 15, 2006. As it turned out, I’d say J-Mac and I were just the kind of people God might employ to send a message of hope to the rest of the world in the form of a timeless, feel-good story.


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Topics: Inspiration, Motivation, Leadership

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"A Coach and a Miracle

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