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The All-America guard, Danny Ainge, pounded the court in anguish after his BYU Cougars had lost in double overtime to the UW Cowboys, 86-84, on Feb. 26, 1981, in War Memorial Fieldhouse.
Two days later, the Cowboys defeated Utah, 53-50 to clinch the Western Athletic Conference championship and earn a spot in the NCAA basketball tournament for the first time in more than a decade. It launched an unprecedented successful run for Cowboy basketball.
A member of that team, sharp-shooting guard Anthony (AJ) Johnson, remembers those games well. But those victories aren't his most significant memory of his years playing for Coach Jim Brandenburg.
"My twin sons were born right after I arrived home after playing a game against CSU," says the well-liked Johnson, who is retiring from the UW Police Department. Everyone is welcome to a reception in his honor scheduled Thursday, July 8, from noon-2 p.m. at the UWPD facility, located at 15th and Flint streets.
After earning a degree in criminal justice (1983), Johnson worked as a UW security guard for Western Research Institute, then served as a UWPD security guard position from 1984-1986. He accepted a peace officer position after graduating from the Wyoming Law Enforcement Academy in 1986 and was promoted to sergeant in 1999. He also served one year in the detective division.
During that time, Johnson had to keep current on the continuing advances in law enforcement technology that were taking place. Reports that were hand-typed are now done by computer, and the UWPD vehicles are all equipped with ICOP, a modern video and audio recording system. The UWPD, housed in the basement of the old Ivinson Building, recently moved into its new, well-equipped facility.
"UW has been a part of my family since I first set foot on campus in 1979, and I am grateful to all the past and present UW staff, faculty and students for being a part of my life," he says fondly. "My family and I intend to continue to be involved in this community and campus."