NEWTON, Texas — Newton's former head football coach died May 11, 2019.

Former Newton High School athletic director and head coach for William T. (WT) Johnston announced his retirement on April 1. 

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"Newton ISD was blessed to have employed Coach Johnston for 26 years, six years as the athletic director and head coach," Newton Independent School District Superintendent Michelle Barrow said in a written statement. 

In his time leading the Eagles, WT was (97-15), with back-to-back State Championships in 2017 and 2018 to go along with another State appearance in 2014. 

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Back in 2012, coach Johnston was diagnosed with lung disease.

Coach WT Johnston
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Despite the diagnosis, he never stopped coaching the Newton Eagles. During multiple seasons, he coached on the sidelines with an oxygen tank.

"Not only has Coach Johnston made an impact on the athletic department but he has had influence on the community of Newton as well. His determined strong faith has inspired many," Newton Independent School District Superintendent Michelle Barrow said in a written statement. "He is known in East Texas as well as across the country for his work in athletics and his encouragement to others to never give up but to cling to God and his Word."

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At this time, funeral arrangements are pending. 

Continue to keep Johnston's family and the Newton Eagle community in your thoughts and prayers.

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From a Newton ISD statement: 

On May 11, 2019, former Athletic Director and Head Coach William T. (WT) Johnston passed away. Newton ISD was blessed to have employed Coach Johnston for 26 years, six years as the athletic director and head coach. 

During his career at Newton ISD the athletic department has flourished. Not only has Coach Johnston made an impact on the athletic department but he has had influence on the community of Newton as well. His determined strong faith has inspired many. He is known in East Texas as well as across the country for his work in athletics and his encouragement to others to never give up but to cling to God and his Word. 

Newton ISD will miss him dearly. On behalf of the family and the district it is requested that individuals and all media respect the privacy of Coach Johnston's family, our students, staff and the Newton community. The school schedule will not be interrupted, our elementary and middle school students will have their STAAR tests next week as scheduled.