Johnson Ard earns selection in Sumter Sports Hall of Fame on success as player, coach

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As Lisa Johnson, she was an outstanding athlete at Hudgens Academy and then at Coker College in Hartsville.

As Lisa Ard, she was an outstanding girls basketball head coach at Crestwood High School and is the head softball coach for the defending 1A state champion at East Clarendon High.

So on Thursday Lisa Johnson Ard will be inducted into the Sumter Sports Hall of Fame.

"It really is a great honor for me," Ard said. "To be in with this group of people is a privilege. To go in with them is an honor."

Ard will be inducted along with Connie Ballard, the late Buddy Hodge, Garon Jackson, Stacy Martin, Brooks Shumake and Travis Yates on Thursday beginning at 6 p.m. at the Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club of Sumter located at 630 S. Sumter St.

Tickets are $25 a person for the event and can be purchased at the Boys & Girls Club. Its offices are open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information, call Jean Ford at (803) 775-5006.

Ard grew up and still lives in the Shiloh community of Sumter County, located in the northeast part of the county surrounded by both Clarendon County and Florence County. That's where Hudgens Academy was located and where she starred in basketball, softball and track and field.

She averaged over 18 points a game and led the Lady Cougars to two SCISA state championships in 1982 and '83. She was also a part of a softball state champion and won the state championship in the shot put twice.

She went on to play basketball at Coker and was an NAIA All-American for three years. She was inducted into the Coker College Hall of Fame in 2006 and was recently chosen to the first team of the school's all-time team.

Ard has been a teacher and coach for the past 28 years. She was the girls basketball head coach at Crestwood for eight years. The Lady Knights reached the 3A state playoffs each year, winning four region titles along the way.

She has led the EC softball program to two state titles, winning in 2013 and the most recent season. The Lady Wolverines have won seven region titles and seven district titles under her guidance.

"I've enjoyed the opportunities I've had to coach these girls," Ard said. "I've been trying to teach them something that will help them in the long run, how to be teammates and help each other out.

"I've been blessed to be in those positions with both teams to have been successful at both places."