Coffee Club celebrates Jonnie Emmons birthday, athletic career

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The Walter P. Ledet Coffee Club celebrated Johhnie Emmons 90th birthday at its meeting Nov. 15. Johnnie has been a member of the coffee club for over twenty years. Northwestern State University called the 1973 N Club Hall of Fame Inductee “one of the most iconic figures in Demon athletic history.”

A NSU Demons article from 2015 states the following:

One of the more remarkable athletes and sportsmen in Demon history, Emmons made the Top 100 Demon Football Players of the Century list in 2007 and remains baseball’s record-holder with a .458 batting average in 1952.

A halfback and quarterback in football at 150 pounds from 1948-51, Emmons shares the single-game school record with three touchdown receptions against McNeese as a senior. He scored six TDs rushing in his first two games as a Demon before leg injuries hampered his progress. He threw an 80-yard TD pass in 1949 that still ranks sixth-longest in school history.

As a centerfielder on the baseball team, he won two Gulf States Conference battling titles, hitting .350 as a sophomore and tearing up the ballparks in his senior year. He soon entered the baseball coaching ranks in Bernice in the Big 8 League, winning five league titles and finishing second the other two years.

He coached high school ball at Spearsville, Bernice, Ferriday and Lake Charles, where he gave a young R.C. Slocum his start in coaching at Lake Charles High.

Emmons joined the Demons’ staff in 1969 as a football assistant under Glenn Gossett, and also became tennis coach by default. Within 10 years, he had the Demons ranked in the Top 20 in the nation, and he launched women’s tennis at NSU before taking over the baseball head coaching post in 1986.

“Just like joining this coffee club, coming to NSU was the best thing I’ve ever done,” said Johnnie.

Johnnie’s friend of 70 years, John Ropp, said Johnnie was recruited by several colleges, but chose Normal College. He and Ropp coached together at the college through the years. “I’m really happy to have worked with him on the offensive line,” said Ropp. “Thanks for being a true loyal friend for over 70 years. I could always count on you.”