Archie Johnson graduated from Waseca High School in 1959. He was an outstanding athlete at Waseca Central in the late 50’s; dedicated to his sport and a great team leader. Archie earned three letters each in track and basketball. In basketball, he was one of only a few to make a big impact as a sophomore.
Archie was a track participant all four years in high school. He ran the high and low hurdles, did the high jump and ran relays. He was consistently a double winner in the hurdles. His team won the South Central Conference in his sophomore year.
Basketball was the sport that Archie excelled at; he was one of the best ever to play for the Bluejays. In 10th grade, he scored over 20 points in 5 of his first 10 games on the “B” squad and was moved up to varsity. Whitey Aamot coached the varsity and in this time period, Whitey had so many boys come out for basketball that it was rare to have a sophomore play on the varsity. In his first varsity game, Archie scored 20 points starting his fabulous career at Waseca Central. In 10th grade, playing on the same team as Bob Johnson, John King (both in the Waseca Hall of Fame) and Jim Larsen was a highlight. Waseca was highly ranked in the state, but lost in the District finals. This was Whitey Aamot’s last year of coaching at Waseca. Newcomer Manny Beckmann coached Archie’s junior and senior years. After Archie’s sophomore year, Coach Beckmann was quoted, “ If Archie improves in the next two years he has to rank with Waseca greats, Bob Johnson and Shyde Krause”. And improve he did. Archie, team captain, was the second leading scorer in the SCC his junior year and the leading scorer his senior year. He set a new school record for most points scored in a single game with 40, breaking Bob Johnson’s 39. A new team scoring record of 90 points was set in that same game. He set the school record for the most consecutive free throws made in a game, making 20 of 21, missing the last one. Archie was named to Sid Hartman’s WCCO All-State Team twice. He was the leading scorer and rebounder on the team his junior and senior year. Archie wound up his cage career with 857 points, second only to Shyde Krause in Waseca scoring history at that time.
Manny Beckmann stated that Arch was the “purest” shooter he has ever coached. In an interview with Manny Beckmann after being selected as Minnesota Coach- of-the-year by WCCO in 1976, he was asked if he could name an all-time Manny Beckmann team. Beckmann stated – “I think the first real outstanding ball player I had, of course had to be Archie Johnson. He could do it all. He could rebound. He could shoot from the outside. He could set shoot, jump shoot, go inside, go outside. He certainly was a great player.”
Arch ended his brilliant basketball career at the District finals against a powerful Janesville team. In defeat, Archie played his heart out. He did just about everything imaginable. He topped the scoring with 34 points, led the rebounders with 20, acted as floor general and set up plays. When Archie fouled out late in the fourth quarter, he was given a standing ovation by the fans on both sides of the court.
After graduation, many colleges recruited Archie; but he opted to enter the workforce doing masonry. Before long, he started his own business, Johnson Masonry, which he still has today. Archie married his high school sweetheart Lois, and they raised three children, Jerry, Sherry, and Kipp. Archie and Lois reside here in Waseca.