Johannes takes medical leave at Crater
CENTRAL POINT — Crater High School has been forced to alter its plan for the upcoming boys basketball season, with head coach Glenn Johannes taking a medical leave of absence and top assistant Terry Rasmussen taking over on an interim basis.
Crater players learned of the plan this week but have had time to prepare for it after the 38-year-old Johannes surprisingly suffered a stroke in May. Even though Johannes was able to return to his coaching duties this summer, further neurological tests caused enough concern that his doctor’s recommended a one-year hiatus about three weeks ago.
“This is the best thing for our family, without question,” said Johannes, whose wife Michelle is due to deliver their third son, Jax, on Sept. 16. Their other sons are Cole (5) and Dane (2 in October). “This whole thing has put everything in perspective that my family has to be first, that’s the biggest thing.”
Beyond missing a year of coaching basketball — that includes even attending games — Johannes has had to cut back on his teaching time as well. The plan is to start by teaching one class, sixth-grade geography at Scenic Middle School, and gradually build up his stamina for more classes.
“I’m expecting a full recovery and we hope in one year I’m back coaching and teaching full-time and taking care of myself,” Johannes said Friday. “I’ve really been fortunate to have the friends and family that I have helping me, and the administrators in Central Point have been amazing. They’ve been absolutely unreal about it all and it’s all been, ‘Whatever you need,’ from them. I’m lucky.”
Prior to joining Johannes, who moved from Phoenix High to Crater for the 2013-14 school year, Rasmussen served under Brian Morse as an assistant coach from 2006-13 at Cascade Christian High. Rasmussen, a principal real estate broker at John L. Scott, has worked in youth sports for nearly 30 years.
“First, you feel bad for Glenn because I know (coaching basketball’s) in his blood and it’s going to drive him crazy that he can’t be around it,” said Crater Athletic Director David Heard. “You wish you could have it be consistent for the kids but it is what it is. It’s kind of a freaky deal and I don’t think even they have their finger on it all quite yet.”
“I’ve known Terry for a while and Terry’s been around long enough that I don’t feel like it’s going to be a dropoff,” added Heard. “The kids like Terry and all of the coaches in place were already there and know the system. They’re not really changing the system, of course they might tweak things for certain games, but the hope is it’s one year and Glenn will be back. The most important thing is his health and that he’s going to be OK.”
After receiving his doctor’s orders, Johannes recommended to Heard that Rasmussen take over, along with a return of a coaching staff that includes assistant Matt Vranes, JV coach Joe Hess and freshman coach Dalton Richardson.
“Terry will do great,” said Johannes. “When all this came down, all I said is that you need to keep our staff together if possible. I would love to come back in a year but regardless of that, these kids need to build continuity within the school and the system. When David okayed that, it made me really excited about it. I didn’t even talk to Terry about recommending him, I just knew in my heart that he was the right choice for these kids and for Crater.”
Johannes had just finished a weightlifting workout with some of the Crater athletes when things began to feel wrong in late May. His left side became somewhat paralyzed and his hand clamped up with a sudden sense of feeling disoriented. He went back into the gymnasium to get a drink of water but for some reason didn’t know how to do that and an ambulance was called for him shortly thereafter.
“Within five minutes, everything was gone,” he said.
Johannes was initially released from the emergency room with the diagnosis of a bad migraine but later that night he suffered another stroke that affected the parietal lobe of his brain.
“I went to bed and woke up the next morning and realized I went to change my youngest son’s diaper and didn’t know how to do it,” he said. “My wife was like, ‘Go do this,’ and I couldn’t do it. I went to call (Terry) to say I need you to coach tomorrow and I didn’t know how to type his name into my cell phone. It was all scary stuff, no question about it.”
The end result, according to Johannes, was short-term memory loss.
“My physical and motor skills are perfectly fine and I look fine,” said Johannes. “If you look at me you’d never have thought I had a stroke. I can engage in conversations as long as I’m leading them but, otherwise, sometimes I will lose my train of thought and focus and not remember what the conversation was about and end up having difficulties with those types of impairments.”
Johannes said he’s still undergoing tests to determine what caused his stroke but the long-term prognosis is good thanks to his age and good health.
“There’s frustrating moments, for sure,” he admitted. “There’s the mindset of thinking that everything’s fine and it’s not. It’s the idea that, being a driven person, I can power through that but then someone tells you that you can’t do it, and that’s hard to grasp for me. I like to compete and like to think that, ‘No,’ is not available but I’m also now realizing that I’d be doing a disservice to others if I didn’t take care of myself first and make sure that everything’s good before I can continue on.”
Crater finished fourth in the Southern Oregon Hybrid with a 3-9 league and 7-16 overall record this past season. Johannes guided Phoenix to the Class 4A state championship in 2011 and a runner-up showing in 2012, posting a four-year record of 79-33.
“I would love for him to be back and I would think he would, too, before summer ball next happened,” said Heard. “That would be ideal if he was cleared by then but we’ll just have to kind of play it by ear and wait and see because there’s no way to know that.”
Reach reporter Kris Henry at 541-776-4488, email@example.com, www.facebook.com/krishenryMT or www.twitter.com/Kris_Henry