The South Dakota Sports Hall of Fame is dedicated to the preservation, documentation and display of South Dakota's sports history.

Arnold "Nig" Johnson



The Brookings grad was named the captain of the all-state football team for 1952 by SoDak Sports and also the state’s Athlete of the Year for the 1952-53 school year.

The 5-foot-9, 150-pounder was a high school All-American in football and set an Eastern South Dakota Conference scoring record (102 points in seven games) in 1952.

He led Brookings’ 12 Iron Men to a 14-14 tie with mighty Sioux Falls Washington in one of the most memorable games in state history, scoring both Bobcat touchdowns despite being double-teamed all game long.

“One on one I just don’t think anybody could stop that kid,” Washington coach Bob Burns said. “He was probably the best high school running back I’ve ever seen or at least that one of my teams ever played against.’’

Johnson was a four-year starter in football and basketball at Brookings. He was all-state in basketball in 1952 and 1953, and led BHS to the 1952 state title. He won three events at the 1953 state track meet (broad jump in a meet-record 21-10.75, 100-yard dash in 10.1 and 220 in 23.0) and anchored the runner-up 880 relay. His best long jump of 22-9 was a school record for more than 50 years.

At South Dakota State, he lettered in football, basketball and track. In football, he played quarterback and halfback and was all-conference in 1956, when he led the North Central Conference in total offense. He set several school passing records.
























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