Greenville wrestling coach Paul Johnson gets 500th career win

By Chip Burch • Last Updated 12:39 pm on Thursday, January 19, 2012

Greenville coach Paul Johnson, right, accepts a plaque signifying his 500th career win as a coach from Luke Gilmore (left) and Jordan Thomas, back, after the Yellow Jackets defeated Northview Wednesday night.

GRAND RAPIDS — Greenville wrestling coach Paul Johnson is in the annals of wrestling history now.

Johnson secured his 500th career dual-meet victory Wednesday night when the Yellow Jackets beat Northview 46-19.

“I thought about it. I kept thinking, I was at 482 at the start of the season,” Johnson said. “Like everybody else, I’m kind of prone to think to get to another 100 is a big deal.”

Johnson was presented with a plaque that denoted the 500th career win by seniors Luke Gilmore and Jordan Thomas.

“It sounds silly, but I know that everybody looks at it as a big number,” Johnson said. “I know Bruce Bittenbender, who is second in the nation and has the state record and has 800. That happened over (Christmas) break.”

Johnson joins an exclusive club, and he’s grateful for it.

“There are a lot of coaches that I respect in that 500 club and so to be a part of that, that’s an honor.” Johnson is also No. 10 all-time in the state in coaching victories, a fact Johnson didn’t know.

“I think it’s kind of neat,” he said. “It’s sort of like rankings in that it really doesn’t have any bearing on things. It’s kind of a neat to be recognized for it though.”

Johnson deflected some of the credit for his milestone win.

“I’m more interested in how the kids do,” he said. “It’s a tribute to all the kids that have wrestled at Greenville, honestly. I don’t wrestle out there, so they’re the ones that get the win for me. So I’m very appreciative of the effort they put out there for me.”

That same night he got win No. 501 against Grand Rapids Union. The Jackets are now 19-4 overall.

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