Johnson serves and protects South Beloit, coaches at Rock Valley

SOUTH BELOIT, Ill. (WIFR) -- Rock Valley College softball head coach Darin Monroe knows DJ Johnson to be someone that likes to work. Johnson has been by Monroe's side for all six of RVC's national championship teams. But more important than coaching, Johnson has served as a South Beloit police officer for more than 17 years.

"We've been handling a lot more complaints over the phone, rather than going into someone's home or going to someone's residence," said Johnson. "I think, when we do go to a residence or come in contact with people, we got to use those social distancing and all the suggestions that are abided by to us."

Johnson said the coronavirus pandemic has changed his job as an officer, but he hasn't forgot about his work with Rock Valley. He understands that while they are not on the field right now, he still has the girls' backs.

"You have to take care of yourself," Johnson expressed. "You have to stay healthy first and foremost. Outside of that, you have a life to live. So there's a much bigger picture than softball per se."

Monroe echoed that sentiment.

"Our job is to protect these young ladies from all harm," said Monroe. "I think that's something that, it's been a really valuable thing for DJ to be a part of our staff because he sees the world in a different lens than maybe I would."

Monroe knows Johnson loves his sworn duty to protect and serve South Beloit, but he believes a head coaching job is in the near future.

"This is DJ's hobby and it's something that if he ever retired from the police department, I think he would actively search to maybe go on a full-time basis because he's good at it."

Johnson can't wait to get back to coaching.

"I miss it a lot. I know the coaching staff and I know the girls miss it a lot. A lot about it is the comradery, the bus rides and all that stuff that come along with the season," explained Johnson. "Not just the wins and losses, but the team and the games and all that. I think that's what we miss the most."

Saturday would have been the NJCAA DIII national championship game. If history is any indicator, the Golden Eagles would have had a pretty good shot at their seventh straight title.

"It's easy to say what could have been, what should have been, but all of it was uncontrollable," said Johnson. "So we just had to control what we could. Explain to the girls unfortunately it isn't going to be this year, but knowing what we would have had, it would've been nice to see the end of it."