Cherry, Johnson Blair (1901–1966)

By: Jones Ramsey

Type: Biography

Published: 1976

Updated: October 14, 2020

Johnson Blair Cherry, football coach and oilman, was born at Kerens, Navarro County, Texas, on August 7, 1901. He began his coaching career at Ranger after graduating from Texas Christian University in 1924. After three years at Ranger he moved to Northside High School in Fort Worth. In 1930 he was named head coach at Amarillo High School and thus embarked on a remarkable career that saw his fabled Sandies win eighty-six of ninety-one games and four state championships in seven years. In 1936 he married Florence Snodgrass of Amarillo; they had two children. Cherry was hired at the University of Texas in 1937 by Dana X. Bible, and served as first assistant on the Longhorn staff for ten years. When Bible retired after the 1946 season, Cherry was named head coach. He accepted the challenge of following Bible and gambled on a new formation, the "T." As executed by quarterback Robert Lawrence (Bobby) Layne, the formation was an immediate success. In Cherry's four years at Texas, he had one Southwest Conference championship, three postseason bowl games, and an overall record of 32–10–1. He resigned after the 1950 season, in which his Longhorns ranked number two nationally and became the school's first team to win all of its Southwest Conference games, to enter the oil business in Lubbock. Cherry was voted into the Texas Sports Hall of Fame shortly before his death in Lubbock on September 10, 1966. He was buried in Llano Cemetery, Amarillo.

Joe B. Frantz, The Forty-Acre Follies (Austin: Texas Monthly Press, 1983). Denne H. Freeman, Hook 'Em Horns: A Story of Texas Football (Huntsville, Alabama: Strode, 1974). Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.

  • Education
  • Educators
  • Physical Education, Home Economics, and Health
  • Oil and Gas Industry
  • Oil Entrepreneurs and Wildcatters
  • Sports and Recreation
  • Sports (Football)
  • Dallas/Fort Worth Region
  • Fort Worth
  • North Texas

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Jones Ramsey, “Cherry, Johnson Blair,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June 25, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

October 14, 2020

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