State Affiliate Websites

Brian Johnston

Brian’s contribution as a volunteer to the growth and development of all facets of Little Athletics almost spanned three decades. He immersed himself in all levels of the sport from grass roots to board level.

Brian joined Runaway Bay Centre in 1981. As soon as he joined the Centre, he began coaching and spent two seasons on the Runaway Bay committee, before joining a steering committee to establish the Ashmore Little Athletics Centre in 1984. As a founding member of Ashmore Centre, he held positions of Centre Manager, Assistant Centre Manager, Program Officer, Equipment Officer and Coaching Manager.

He was also heavily involved in the running of local and Queensland Athletics cross countries and South Coast Regional competitions in these early days, so it is not unreasonable to include Brian as one of the enduring pioneers of Little Athletics on the Gold Coast.

In 1990, Brian was elected to the QLAA (now LAQ) Board of Management, where he served as Competition Manager for three years. He also spent four years (three as Chairperson) on the LAQ Competition Committee and was QLAA’s Coaching Co-ordinator for 11 years. He also served 14 years as a Coach of the LAQ State Team, coached at numerous LAQ coaching camps and was a presenter at LAQ coaching workshops across the State.

At a Zone (now Regional) level, Brian served in a number of positions including Zone Coordinator for five years. He campaigned for the establishment of a tartan running track at the Gold Coast campus of Griffith University.

Brian’s passion for athletics lead him to become a qualified Official with Athletics Australia and LAQ in all disciplines. He was a key official for LAQ over many years in various roles, including Track Referee at Regional, Association and National levels as well as being the Arena Manager for many Association conducted carnivals (including the State Championships) as far back as 1984.

Brian fought hard to implement many initiatives and improvements on and off the arena, improving programs, conditions for Officials and reducing carnival expenses. All the while spending countless volunteer hours assisting at Centre level, often six days per week since his first weeks in Little Athletics, whilst heavily committed elsewhere.

But, Brian’s greatest passion was for coaching and mentoring his athletes, particularly at Centre level. Nurturing and encouraging athletes to strive to reach their potential, whilst at the same time never losing sight of having fun or feeling pressured. Brian coached continuously, free of charge, often six days per week for 26 years. He made significant contributions to athlete development by traveling extensively throughout Queensland, including camps held in the Far North, North, Central and South East Regions of Queensland.

Outside of Little Athletics, Brian also coached at St Hilda’s School at Southport.

Brian continuously and openly demonstrated a passion for the growth and development of our sport. Many people would be familiar with his lively Conference debates. Brian was never afraid to stand up and fight to get a point across if he passionately believes something is for the good of the athletes or the Association. Brian played a major role to ensure that athletes from North Queensland be included in the Association calendar by being a key organiser of the first State Championships held in Townsville (1992).

His outstanding contributions were recognised with an LAQ Merit Award in 1986/87, Life Membership of Ashmore Little Athletics in 1987/88, an appreciation plaque from the South Coast Region in 1989/90, LAQ Distinguished Merit Award in 1992/93, the Australian Sports Medal in 2000 (for outstanding voluntary service state wide to Little Athletics), a Moncrieff Community Award in 2001 (recognising outstanding role models who have made a significant contribution to the local area and who provide inspiration to others) and a 25 year service pin from LAQ in 2006. In 2008 he was awarded Life Membership of Little Athletics Queensland.

In 1992 the South Coast Region instigated a special annual award for athlete in the U15 age group who best exemplifies the philosophies of Little Athletics. This award was named the Brian Johnston Award in honour of the outstanding contribution Brian had already made to the South Coast Region over the previous ten years. This award remains in place to this day.

As a testament to the person Brian was, a number of the athletes he coached have been inspired to take up coaching and give back to the Centre by serving on the committee.

Brian was a tremendous servant to Little Athletics for 29 years. He sadly passed away in 2010. Following Brian’s death, Ashmore Little Athletics renamed their oval the Brian Johnston Athletics Track in recognition of Brian’s long and outstanding contributions to the Centre.