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Northern Burlco's Johnson resigns

The basketball coach said the job was hurting his relationship with his son, who played for him.

After a seven-year stint, Northern Burlington boys' basketball coach Herman Johnson announced his resignation yesterday, revealing that he made the decision during the season and adding that it was unrelated to his son's nearly fatal swimming pool accident on Monday.

Johnson, 48, said: "The key element in deciding to step away" was that he thought he was too hard on his son last year. His son, Jayson, had a solid freshman season for Northern, averaging 11.5 points and five assists per game for the varsity.

"I was tough on him . . . and that's not the way you want to have a relationship," Johnson said. "During the season, I said to myself, 'You've got a good kid, an A-B student, and you're [verbally] beating the hell out of him.' I don't want to do that anymore.

"I think I can help him grow better by just being a dad and not a coach."

On Monday, Jayson Johnson, 15, nearly drowned in a pool accident down the street from the Johnsons' home in Columbus. A neighbor, Paul Urban, 61, performed CPR on Jayson Johnson and revived him, his father said.

"What he did," Johnson said, "was miraculous."

The younger Johnson spent two days in a hospital - he was hooked to oxygen for a while - and was released Wednesday.

"He should make a full recovery," Herman Johnson said.

Herman Johnson, whose 13-year-old son, Matt, is also a budding basketball player, said another reason he is leaving coaching is that he wants to devote more time to his job as a firefighter in Jersey City.

In seven seasons, Johnson's teams compiled a 66-103 record. His second team, led by star guard Cedric Jackson, went 16-10 and lost to Collingswood in the South Jersey Group 2 semifinals in 2003. The Greyhounds were 4-20 last season.

"Coaching took a lot of time from my job, and it's probably in everyone's best interest that [the basketball players] get a new face and a new voice," said Johnson, whose first three teams went 45-28.

"Coaching is a job where, if your heart isn't in it 100 percent, you end up cheating the kids, and that's something I didn't want to do."

Johnson also coached for seven years in North Jersey.