“Big Mike” Johnston

“Support Tulane Athletics…And Have Fun Doing It!”
User avatar
NOLABigSteve
Riptide
Posts: 4245
Joined: Wed Dec 01, 2010 12:00 am
Location: New Orleans, LA
Contact:
Status: Online

This announcement comes with such a heavy heart.

Life-long Tulane fan and current Greenbacker President Mike Johnston has passed away.

Mike was such a presence at all Tulane sporting events for so many years. There wasn’t a kinder, funnier, and more devoted fan than Big Mike.

If you have any stories, please share them here. And I do ask that you respect the privacy of his family during this most difficult time.

WE LOVE YOU MIKE
ROLL WAVE 💚💙💚💙💚💙


Roll Wave!
Tulane University c/o 2003
Football Defensive End '99, '00, '01, '02
2002 Hawaii Bowl Champions
School of Engineering (Computer Science)
winwave
Top of the WAVE
Posts: 22193
Joined: Sat Jul 16, 2011 10:34 am
Status: Offline

NOLABigSteve wrote: Wed Sep 16, 2020 4:51 pm This announcement comes with such a heavy heart.

Life-long Tulane fan and current Greenbacker President Mike Johnston has passed away.

Mike was such a presence at all Tulane sporting events for so many years. There wasn’t a kinder, funnier, and more devoted fan than Big Mike.

If you have any stories, please share them here. And I do ask that you respect the privacy of his family during this most difficult time.

WE LOVE YOU MIKE
ROLL WAVE 💚💙💚💙💚💙
So very sorry to hear this. Great man and great Tulane fan. May he rest in peace. I'll keep his family in my prayers during this difficult time
Small time facilities for small time programs.
Let's enjoy our last season in D-1!!!
golfnut69
Wild Pelican
Posts: 13040
Joined: Thu Dec 02, 2010 9:38 am
Status: Offline

Mike will be missed, Tulane has lost a fine man. Rest In Peace, Mike...
Be a Hero Today.... Adopt a Shelter Pet... The Beatles once sang "Can't Buy Me Love"... I disagree, unconditional Love can be bought, for the nominal adoption fee at your local Pet Shelter !
Bicoastalwave
Riptide
Posts: 3203
Joined: Wed Jul 20, 2016 11:24 am
Status: Offline

I didn’t have the pleasure of knowing Big Mike, but the loss of any Fan, Booster or Die Hard hurts us all as a community. I certainly wish I had known him. I send my best wishes, thoughts and prayers to his family and friends.

Let’s get Saturday on ABC for him, I’m sure that would make him smile.
User avatar
tpstulane
Top of the WAVE
Posts: 23646
Joined: Thu Dec 02, 2010 11:56 pm
Status: Offline

Stadiums get old, winning never does.
Tulane Class of 1981
User avatar
tpstulane
Top of the WAVE
Posts: 23646
Joined: Thu Dec 02, 2010 11:56 pm
Status: Offline

I first met “Big Mike” on “the rail” at the old Turchin baseball stadium in 1999. We happened to be standing next to one another and we struck up a conversation. I found out we had a lot in common besides being Tulane fans. We both were Tulane and Jesuit grads about 5-6 years apart. He had mentioned he covered Tulane for the Hullabaloo and I had told him my dad covered Tulane for the States Item and later the TP. He then told me he knew my dad well and had made a few Tulane FB road trips with my him (one particular one was at Kentucky) in the 70’s and they all took a pic with Secretariat at Churchill Downs. The following day I met Mike again on the rail and he showed me the picture. My dad had already passed away in late 1997 and I had never seen or heard about the picture before. It was pretty awesome. Milt Retif, Pete B, Will Peneguy, Wayne Mack, Secretariat, Mike Johnston, and George Sweeney all posing with the first Triple Crown winner in 25 years (1973) same period of time we ended our winless streak vs LSU. It was then Mike told me about the Greenbackers and I immediately joined the club. Been a member now for over 20 years. Too many stories to share but the best times I had with Mike were 2004 Oxford Regionals and 2005 Omaha CWS.

Image
Stadiums get old, winning never does.
Tulane Class of 1981
winwave
Top of the WAVE
Posts: 22193
Joined: Sat Jul 16, 2011 10:34 am
Status: Offline

Thanks for sharing that link and your personal note. Sorry for your loss.
Small time facilities for small time programs.
Let's enjoy our last season in D-1!!!
User avatar
tpstulane
Top of the WAVE
Posts: 23646
Joined: Thu Dec 02, 2010 11:56 pm
Status: Offline

winwave wrote: Wed Sep 16, 2020 10:18 pm Thanks for sharing that link and your personal note. Sorry for your loss.
Thanks. If there ever was a spot in the Tulane Hall of Fame for a fan it would be Big Mike.
Stadiums get old, winning never does.
Tulane Class of 1981
sader24
Tsunami
Posts: 5673
Joined: Wed Dec 01, 2010 11:35 pm
Status: Offline

Not sure a big enough deal can be made of this in Tulane fandom. He literally carried what was left of the Tulane football fan base on his back from about 95-till. Even more specifically after the review in 2003 and post katrina when a lot of people either gave up or became less interested. Having grown up with the Greenbackers from birth he went from a major figure in the Greenbackers in the 80s and 90s to what i would say was the biggest and most noticeable Tulane fan there was for the next 15-20 years. I would convince friends every once in awhile to come to games over the years and after my Dad died he was one of the main reasons they would entertain the thought of coming to a football game a year and a couple would even go to Bay Cafe every now and then to run into him. One of the funniest, most knowledgeable and passionate fans of any sort I've ever seen. Nobody is replacing Big Mike. Weirdly enough the last time i saw him he was speeding down my street a couple of months ago and didn't know it was me as we live in the same neighborhood. I was slowly backing out my new truck into his way and he laid hard on the horn and zoomed past me giving me a dirty look and yelling. I thought it was him and saw the Tulane license plate on the back and laughed my ass off.
golfnut69
Wild Pelican
Posts: 13040
Joined: Thu Dec 02, 2010 9:38 am
Status: Offline

Tulane needs to step up and put a "Mike" sticker on every Helmet...without Mike, they may not have had a place to play football
Last edited by golfnut69 on Fri Sep 18, 2020 9:07 am, edited 1 time in total.
Be a Hero Today.... Adopt a Shelter Pet... The Beatles once sang "Can't Buy Me Love"... I disagree, unconditional Love can be bought, for the nominal adoption fee at your local Pet Shelter !
User avatar
tpstulane
Top of the WAVE
Posts: 23646
Joined: Thu Dec 02, 2010 11:56 pm
Status: Offline

sader24 wrote: Thu Sep 17, 2020 2:53 am Not sure a big enough deal can be made of this in Tulane fandom. He literally carried what was left of the Tulane football fan base on his back from about 95-till. Even more specifically after the review in 2003 and post katrina when a lot of people either gave up or became less interested. Having grown up with the Greenbackers from birth he went from a major figure in the Greenbackers in the 80s and 90s to what i would say was the biggest and most noticeable Tulane fan there was for the next 15-20 years. I would convince friends every once in awhile to come to games over the years and after my Dad died he was one of the main reasons they would entertain the thought of coming to a football game a year and a couple would even go to Bay Cafe every now and then to run into him. One of the funniest, most knowledgeable and passionate fans of any sort I've ever seen. Nobody is replacing Big Mike. Weirdly enough the last time i saw him he was speeding down my street a couple of months ago and didn't know it was me as we live in the same neighborhood. I was slowly backing out my new truck into his way and he laid hard on the horn and zoomed past me giving me a dirty look and yelling. I thought it was him and saw the Tulane license plate on the back and laughed my ass off.
For sure! Big Mike loved your dad who I believe was the original founder of the Greenbackers. Nothing better then hearing Mike tell us stories about him. I’ll always remember the celebration at Rock n Bowl your dad provided for us after his funeral. It was attended by a who’s who of Tulane fandom, coaches and administrators. Sadly neither will ever be replaced.
Stadiums get old, winning never does.
Tulane Class of 1981
winwave
Top of the WAVE
Posts: 22193
Joined: Sat Jul 16, 2011 10:34 am
Status: Offline

tpstulane wrote: Wed Sep 16, 2020 10:30 pm
winwave wrote: Wed Sep 16, 2020 10:18 pm Thanks for sharing that link and your personal note. Sorry for your loss.
Thanks. If there ever was a spot in the Tulane Hall of Fame for a fan it would be Big Mike.
No doubt!
Small time facilities for small time programs.
Let's enjoy our last season in D-1!!!
User avatar
Show Me
Riptide
Posts: 4602
Joined: Fri Oct 21, 2011 9:24 pm
Location: Saint Bernard
Status: Offline

golfnut69 wrote: Thu Sep 17, 2020 5:37 am Tulane needs to step up and put a "mike" sticker on every Helmet...without Mike, they may not have had a place to play fotball
Yes that would be nice. Big Mike would usually lead the Hullabaloo cheer at the football games and other events. You can’t replace a fan like that. He was the most passionate Tulane fan I’ve ever seen. Hopefully the Greenbackers find a new man that can continue to lead the support for Athletics going forward.
2020 can’t end soon enough.
God bless the Johnston’s.
Rest In Peace Big Mike.
User avatar
tpstulane
Top of the WAVE
Posts: 23646
Joined: Thu Dec 02, 2010 11:56 pm
Status: Offline

Stadiums get old, winning never does.
Tulane Class of 1981
User avatar
tpstulane
Top of the WAVE
Posts: 23646
Joined: Thu Dec 02, 2010 11:56 pm
Status: Offline

Many thanks to Tulane Athletics especially Jana for thinking of Big Mike like this. Mike’s spirit lives on!

Roll Wave!
Image

Goal Post pad
Image
Stadiums get old, winning never does.
Tulane Class of 1981
tufinal4
Low Tide
Posts: 172
Joined: Fri Aug 10, 2012 9:21 am
Status: Offline

I'm just now seeing this. Words don't suffice. Out of all of my memories of Mike Johnston, the one sticking out most was one of our trips to B.R. for an LSU game in the early 90s. There were Greenbacker bus trips to those games, but we were like 3-7, so was LSU, and there wasn't enough signup that year. So, 4 of us went in a car, I drove, and we lost to LSU at the end. Greg Davis was the coach, we were running sweeps with Chance Miller and LSU couldn't stop it. We get inside the 10, and coach suddenly decides to throw 3 straight incompletions. We lost 16-13. It was a fantastic day partying, almost winning the damn thing, and then the infuriation of how we lost.

There were also the annual Greenbacker decorations of the locker room during LSU week. Mike was the group leader on those nights. I was so hung over one year I missed Thanksgiving dinner the next day.

I prayed at adoration chapel every visit for Mike. When are the services.
User avatar
tpstulane
Top of the WAVE
Posts: 23646
Joined: Thu Dec 02, 2010 11:56 pm
Status: Offline

Even Big Mike couldn’t help us today.
Look for an article on Big Mike in tomorrow’s Advocate.
Stadiums get old, winning never does.
Tulane Class of 1981
User avatar
tpstulane
Top of the WAVE
Posts: 23646
Joined: Thu Dec 02, 2010 11:56 pm
Status: Offline

Stadiums get old, winning never does.
Tulane Class of 1981
User avatar
tpstulane
Top of the WAVE
Posts: 23646
Joined: Thu Dec 02, 2010 11:56 pm
Status: Offline

Stadiums get old, winning never does.
Tulane Class of 1981
User avatar
NOLABigSteve
Riptide
Posts: 4245
Joined: Wed Dec 01, 2010 12:00 am
Location: New Orleans, LA
Contact:
Status: Online

He’ll be buried with the game ball. ❤️

Roll Wave!
Tulane University c/o 2003
Football Defensive End '99, '00, '01, '02
2002 Hawaii Bowl Champions
School of Engineering (Computer Science)
User avatar
NOLABigSteve
Riptide
Posts: 4245
Joined: Wed Dec 01, 2010 12:00 am
Location: New Orleans, LA
Contact:
Status: Online

Roll Wave!
Tulane University c/o 2003
Football Defensive End '99, '00, '01, '02
2002 Hawaii Bowl Champions
School of Engineering (Computer Science)
Wave QB
Swell
Posts: 2221
Joined: Wed Jul 11, 2012 5:09 am
Status: Offline

Nice!
DfromCT
Wild Pelican
Posts: 11545
Joined: Tue Dec 27, 2011 1:50 pm
Location: Stamford, CT
Status: Offline

Well done, Dannen and Fritz. I hope both, along with Hunter and Jewett go to his funeral on Tuesday.
" For every alum, no matter where they are...I want a football coach that's going to make Saturday something you anticipate and look forward to." --Troy Dannen

Thank you all for your support as my son Zach continues to beat leukemia
golfnut69
Wild Pelican
Posts: 13040
Joined: Thu Dec 02, 2010 9:38 am
Status: Offline

Thank you to the Players, Coaches and Staff for their thoughts and prayers for Big Mike...The Players of today, they are way too young, will never understand how hard he fought for, and loved Tulane athletics. There are few Staff members who remember the bleak times, when Mike and the Greenbackers, let their feeling be known, thru actions and donations to keep all sports at Tulane in place. The man truly loved all Tulane players who went "between the lines", no matter the Field or the Court to compete. Big Mike like the vast maority of Tulane fans, was not mega rich, U will not see a building, field or court named after him, but Mike was rich in his love for Tulane. and as we all know, love conquers all...it is now time for Tulane, to return that love.
Be a Hero Today.... Adopt a Shelter Pet... The Beatles once sang "Can't Buy Me Love"... I disagree, unconditional Love can be bought, for the nominal adoption fee at your local Pet Shelter !
User avatar
tpstulane
Top of the WAVE
Posts: 23646
Joined: Thu Dec 02, 2010 11:56 pm
Status: Offline

golfnut69 wrote: Sun Sep 27, 2020 8:04 am Thank you to the Players, Coaches and Staff for their thoughts and prayers for Big Mike...The Players of today, they are way too young, will never understand how hard he fought for, and loved Tulane athletics. There are few Staff members who remember the bleak times, when Mike and the Greenbackers, let their feeling be known, thru actions and donations to keep all sports at Tulane in place. The man truly loved all Tulane players who went "between the lines", no matter the Field or the Court to compete. Big Mike like the vast maority of Tulane fans, was not mega rich, U will not see a building, field or court named after him, but Mike was rich in his love for Tulane. and as we all know, love conquers all...it is now time for Tulane, to return that love.
Well stated! 100% correct there.
Stadiums get old, winning never does.
Tulane Class of 1981
Post Reply