A native of Bremerton, Washington, ski coach Elvin “Bob” Johnson came to Wenatchee Valley College from Whitman College, where he coached skiing. At WVC, Coach Johnson was the head ski coach in 1958 and 1959 and also taught geology, forestry and physical education.
Under Coach Johnson’s direction, skiers from literally all over the world competed for WVC. Aided by several Norwegians, the Knights, competing against mostly four-year schools, dominated the Northwest four-way meets (cross country, jumping and two alpine events). Wenatchee finished first in nine out of 11 meets the two seasons and finished second twice. Team members during the two seasons included Dag Helgestad, Hallvord Grosvold, Larry Simoneau, Jerry Matthews, Terry Welander, Keith Martin (Entiat), Torbjorn Yggeseth, Christopher Selbeck, Asbjorn “Ozzie” Nordheim and Jim Brennan (Leavenworth).
Ozzie Nordheim mentioned that Coach Johnson could outrun most of the team on the ground, but on skis some team members came out on top. However, when it came to skiing Bob was no novice. He had served in the Army’s 10th Mountain Division during World War II and was a highly decorated platoon-leading lieutenant of the 86th Regiment. Bob’s widow, Norma Tadlock Johnson, wrote a book entitled Soldiers of the Mountain, the Story of the 10th Mountain Division of World War II.
Ski Coach Elvin “Bob” Johnson has been posthumously inducted into the Wenatchee Valley College Athletic Hall of Fame.