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Published:May 7th, 2011 16:44 EST

Jim Johnson: A Coach and a Miracle: Life Lessons From a Man Who Believed in an Autistic Boy

By SOP newswire2

During this era of war, economic crises and other woes, many folks may be wondering if miracles are still possible. In his new book A Coach and a Miracle: Life Lessons From a Man Who Believed in an Autistic Boy (Beacon Publishing), Coach Jim Johnson, along with co-writer Mike Latona, responds with a resounding yes " "based on his own role in one of the past decade`s most inspirational news stories that is observing its fifth anniversary.


Flash back to February 15, 2006. As players and hundreds of basketball fans rushed the floor to engulf the smallest player, Coach Johnson remained rooted in place, still in shock over what he had just witnessed.


He had inserted 5-foot-7-inch, 120-pound Jason McElwain in the fourth quarter of Greece Athena High School`s final home game, as a show of appreciation for Jason`s dedication as team manager. J-Mac " "nicknamed as such by Coach Johnson "promptly poured in twenty points in the game`s final 3:11. Even more shocking, Jason is autistic and learning disabled "and was playing in his first and only varsity game.


This scoring outburst turned J-Mac and his coach into overnight celebrities. Coach Johnson calls it a modern-day miracle "a timeless, feel-good story that God wanted to share with the world. In A Coach and a Miracle, Coach Johnson offers behind-the-scenes looks at his role in helping J-Mac shed a lifetime of social isolation; internal team strife that nearly led to his resignation early in the 2005-06 season; his personal quest for a sectional title after several near-misses; and excerpts from hundreds of emotional letters he received "from parents of children with disabilities, to people in tough life circumstances who expressed how the miracle night gave them hope. Coach Johnson ties all these elements together by conveying vital life lessons on goal-setting, perseverance and teamwork.


A Coach and a Miracle also offers exclusive reflections from some two dozen celebrities, including University of Florida Coach Billy Donovan who penned the foreword.


Jim Johnson is the veteran boys` basketball coach at Greece Athena High School. He has won 300-plus games, seven league championships and three Section 5 titles. He is a professional speaker nationwide; has developed a motivational DVD; and gives workshops on leadership and personal development. Mike Latona, his co-writer, is a multiple national award winner in the Catholic press who serves as senior writer for the Catholic Courier newspaper in Rochester.


A Coach and a Miracle will begin limited release February 15, 2011. Review copies will be available at that time. Pre-orders are now being taken by visiting The book will go on sale to the general public March 15, 2011. To request a review copy or arrange an interview with Coach Johnson, contact Scott Pitoniak at 585-739-7843 or   


A Coach and a Miracle: Life Lessons From a Man Who Believed in an Autistic Boy

Jim Johnson with Mike Latona

Beacon Publishing

Hard cover, 171 pages