Longtime LSU publicist Marvin L. “Bud” Johnson, who was on the LSU staff for its 1958 national football championship and Pete Maravich basketball era, died Sunday at the age of 88 years old.
Over the past several years, Johnson has appeared in numerous LSU and SEC/ESPN run documentaries and stories as a sports historian at LSU and Louisiana.
Johnson was born in New Orleans and graduated from Southeastern Louisiana College.
At the age of 16, he wrote a sports column available in the two weeklies of Ponchatoula. His sports public relations work began at age 18 when he was a sports publicist for Southeast Louisiana from 1952 to 1956 while attending college.
Johnson was hired by LSU athletic director Jim Corbett as assistant director of sports publicity on Feb. 1, 1958. He arrived just before one of the most important football seasons in LSU history as the Tigers went undefeated and were named national champions by consensus.
From 1966 to 1971, he served as LSU’s director of sports information, which included the three years of college basketball in which Maravich became the Division I career leading scorer of all time.
During his career, Johnson promoted 10 All-America selections to LSU, including George Bevan, Mike Anderson, Ronnie Estay, Tommy Casanova and Maravich, as well as National Coach of the Year Charles McClendon.
Johnson left LSU in November 1971 to take a public relations position for a major airline and served as public relations manager for the New Orleans Jazz when the NBA awarded New Orleans an expansion franchise prior to the 1974 season. -75.
He also served as Tulane’s first assistant athletic director for marketing and promotion in 1977. He helped Tulane set football attendance records, leading the NCAA to increased attendance in 1979. His promotional activity helped set a Major League Baseball record for exhibition game attendance in 1981 when Tulane brought the New York Yankees to the Superdome for a series of exhibitions.
After leaving Tulane, he became a freelance marketing and public relations consultant in 1986, working in political campaigns and promoting special events.
Johnson was named the recipient of the Distinguished Service Award in Sports Journalism by the Louisiana Sports Writers Association and was a member of the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame in 2001.
Most recently, Johnson served as director of the Jack and Priscilla Andonia Museum at LSU and editor for the school’s Alumni Association magazine. He is the author of the book “Perfect Season: LSU’s Magic Year – 1958”, which was published in 2007.
He is survived by his wife of 61 years, Evelyn Bankston Johnson, his daughter, Marsha Johnson Ferguson, his son-in-law Scott Ferguson and two grandchildren, Brady Ferguson and Emily “Lee” Ferguson. He is also survived by his sister, Sandra Johnson Dugan, a niece Laura Dugan and a great-niece Camille Null as well as numerous cousins.
A memorial service will be held June 11 at 10 a.m. at St. Alban’s Chapel, 11 Dalrymple Drive in Baton Rouge. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Saint Alban Chapel.