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Johnson leads 2018 CU Hall of Fame class

An old friend, three basketball players and a tennis standout form the 11th class of the Cameron University Athletics Hall of Fame.

Lew Johnson, an award-winning writer and the man responsible for bringing two sports editors to Lawton, will be enshrined during Homecoming activities the weekend of Feb. 9-10.

Joining Johnson will be junior college basketball All-Americans Fran Siebuhr (1956) and John Bryant (1959), 2012 cage star Sabelle Diata and tennis player Susan Shannon Portillos.

Induction ceremonies will be Feb. 9 at the McMahon Centennial Complex. The five also will be honored during the Feb. 10 basketball doubleheader with University of Texas Permian Basin.

Johnson and Siebuhr are deceased. Johnson will be represented by his children. Siebuhr's widow and children plan to attend. Diata, who lives in her native Senegal with her husband and child, is trying to make plans so she can fly back for the event.

The CU Athletics Hall of Fame was started in 2007 by Athletic Director Jim Jackson. The new class brings the total to 67 members.

Johnson was not a native Lawtonian, but his love for his adopted home town never was questioned.

Johnson was born on April 20, 1926, in Terrell, Texas. He died on May 20, 2006, in Lawton.

He left Lawton High School in 1945 to join the Navy, where he served on a mine sweeper in the Far East.

He returned to Lawton, played for the 1946 LHS football team that posted an 11-2 record, and graduated in 1947.

He was a quarterback on the 1947 Cameron Junior College team that earned an invitation to play in the famed Junior Rose Bowl game in Pasadena, Calif. Johnson scored a touchdown in the third quarter that gave the Aggies a 20-19 lead, but Chaffey, Calif., rallied for a 39-26 victory.

Johnson began his professional career as a sports writer for the Lawton Constitution. He left briefly to write for the Daily Oklahoman, but returned to become sports editor. He also went into the sporting goods business for a short period, but again returned to The Constitution.

He had one overriding rule: If you don't have something good to say about someone, then don't say anything at all.

Lew left The Constitution in the summer of 1964 and opened Lew Johnson's Restaurant the following year. It became a familiar haunt for coaches, players and sports fans. He also kept a finger on the pulse of the community by serving Channel 7 as sports anchor.

He couldn't stay away from his first love, which was writing. He went to work for Yukon and Edmond papers before settling in at Sulphur Springs, Texas, where he won numerous writing awards.

Johnson was inducted into the special services category of the Oklahoma Coaches Association's Hall of Fame in 1976.

After retiring, Lew and wife Ann returned to Lawton. He served two terms on the Lawton Public Schools Board of Education.

Lew also coached little league sports. His Garfield football team once had a 70-game win streak.

While at the Constitution, he hired a young Herb Jacobs as a reporter. Jacobs was named sports editor when Johnson left the paper.

Lew also convinced Jacobs to hire Joey Goodman, whose love for sports outweighed the fact that he had no experience. Goodman was a quick study and has been sports editor since 1989.

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