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Booker High Announces Athletic Program Changes for Next School Year

Provided by Booker High School

June 9, 2021 – This week, Booker High School announced a shift in staffing for key positions within their athletic program as the school pursues a new plan of action.

The Tornadoes’ Athletic Director, Phil Helmuth, will be retiring from coaching as he devotes more time to family and travel. Helmuth noted the reward of witnessing the growth in student athletes and coaches during his tenure in the position. He was named Booker High’s Athletic Director in June 2016.

Booker High School Principal Dr. Rachel Shelley praised Helmuth’s enormous influence on Booker Athletics, noting an observer could notice his imprint the moment they stepped onto the football field or into the gym.

“He has elevated our program to new heights,” Shelley said.

Stepping into the Athletic Director position will be Jammie Jordan, who is currently coaching girls’ soccer and working with the school’s exceptional student population. Jordan has a wealth of experience in coaching and management of athletics, having held coaching positions in public schools since 1994. Along with school coaching, Jordan has worked in ministries, outreach organizations, and with Sarasota County’s Parks, Recreation, and Natural Resources department connecting youth with athletic opportunities.

Jordan’s vision for the Tornadoes’ athletic program includes a focus on a “culture that fosters emotional, physical, and social development” of young athletes. He hopes to maintain excellence in athletics and revitalize the program by attracting talented players and building exciting and healthy team communities.

Jordan’s plan will begin with an Athletic Clearance Open House on Thursday, June 10th from 6:00 – 8:00 PM in the school gym. Student attendees can receive free physicals, which is an eligibility requirement for participating in athletics.

Another major athletic program change includes the departure of Head Basketball Coach Markus Black.

Black will be taking a graduate assistant coaching position for basketball at the University of Arkansas, where he will pursue his master’s degree. He leaves after a celebrated 91-49, five-year tenure as the school’s Head Basketball Coach.

Booker High is pleased to announce the hiring of Andre Johnson as the next Head Coach of boys’ varsity basketball. Johnson is a proud Booker High graduate and former boys’ basketball player. He went on to play basketball at Jones College and Lane College. Johnson averaged 23 PPG his senior year as a Tornado, which led the area in scoring (despite graduating as a young senior). He was also named the MVP his senior year. 

Johnson was selected to play in the Sarasota-Manatee All Star Game and was named the 4A FACA District Player of the Year. His team advanced to the Jr. College State Championship game in both of his seasons there. Johnson was also recognized twice as the “Player of the Week” for his basketball prowess. He was a two-year starter at Lane College where, as a senior, he averaged 9.4 PPG despite having a broken bone in his hand and playing with no cartilage in his left knee. 

Johnson went on to be an assistant coach at Keiser University. This past year, his team won the conference tournament and advanced to the national tournament, knocking off the defending national champions. His best attribute as a coach is the ability to motivate.

Former Booker High Athletic Director, Phil Helmuth, stated: “Andre Johnson is a perfect hire for the Tornadoes moving forward. He is very driven, a great leader, and has a strong passion for the game. I have no doubt that he will continue to build upon the foundation that Coach Markus Black has created.” 

Booker High School has been receiving guidance from Sarasota County Schools’ overall Athletics Director, James Slaton, as it restructures its Athletics department.