Editor’s Note: Each week we publish an interview with the SMBA ’14 Student of the Week. The winner of the Student of the Week (awarded by the previous winner) sits in the front row of class and proudly displays a flag of his or her choice on the famous Tez statue. “Coach Johnson” Tran earned his trophy for his work in raising morale by leading the cohort in a game of tag and kickball.
Patrick Coghlan: You’ve earned the nickname of “Coach Johnson” in the past few weeks, mostly because your Coach Johnson Time event was a large reason you were named Student of the Week. Can you tell us a little about what Coach Johnson Time is and what it means to you?
Johnson Tran: Coach Johnson Time originates from my time as a Program Coordinator/Super Duper Awesome Recess Coach for a national nonprofit called Playworks. For three years, I worked at two elementary schools in the Boston area promoting safe, healthy, and inclusive play and physical activities. One of the core programs was called Class Game Time, or CGT for short, and it involved leading skills building activities for a class. After talking to Scott Minto about how to implement my Playworks experience with the cohort, we came up with “Coach Johnson Time,” a modified CGT where I lead nostalgic fun games with the cohort. We had our first “CJT” the Thursday before break (March 28), playing tag and kickball. It was a success!
PC: A lot of people who aspire to work in professional sports have grand visions of being an important part of one of the big four sports (MLB, NBA, NFL, and NHL). You seem to have a very unique interest and overall vision of your professional future. What do you see yourself doing and how will this program help?
JT: When I spoke with Scott before applying to the program, he told me that working for one of the big four would be tough and would realistically be a long-term goal. Knowing that I have a background in nonprofit work and still had a desire to be involved in the community, Scott suggested I continue to pursue opportunities within the San Diego community and challenged me to think of ways I could connect my MBA experience with it. After careful thought, I decided that I would like to be more involved with the San Diego community. I believe this program will help make me become an asset to any organization and get my foot in the doors of reputable organizations. So far so good: I recently just started an internship with the San Diego Hall of Champions and can’t wait to make an impact in their Events department!
PC: You are a huge fan of Boston both as a city and of its sports teams. It has to be asked, what is your favorite Boston team and what is the best event in town?
JT: First, I would like to extend my prayers for all of those who were affected by the tragic events on April 15. Also, I would like to praise all first responders, public and authoritative, for their heroic efforts and showing the world what “Boston Strong” truly means. I’m a proud Bostonian, born and raised, and my father is a Boston police officer who was working around the clock to make sure the city was safe and sound after the events.
With that said and with no offense to the other Boston sports teams, I will always live and die with my Red Sox.
PC: There is a rumor on the street that you played nose tackle for your high school football team. Which was harder, playing nose tackle (note that Johnson is of moderate stature, put nicely) or the statistics final?
JT: I should add some clarity about this fun fact before it gets blown out of proportion: my original position was cornerback/linebacker but my coach decided to play me at NT for parts of the season, first as a scout NT and then a few plays here and there during the games (think of me as the change of pace running back, but on defense).
Since I always have an inner Rudy in me, and I just love proving doubters wrong, I have to say the statistics final, with 95 percent confidence!
PC: Now for something fun. If you could only go to one more sporting event the rest of your life (Sunday at the Masters, Game 7 of the World Series, Wimbledon, Super Bowl, etc.) what would it be and why?
JT: Hands down, the Super Bowl (oh wait, according to Dalakas, I have to say “The Big Game” since I don’t possess the rights…). That’s partly because I’ve been to a World Series game and an NBA Finals game, and I have more of an affinity for Big 4 sports. The Super Bowl to me is the equivalent of Disney World to a kid or Mt. Everest to a mountain climber.