If you are a Kentucky fan, an avid attendee at men's basketball games or just a casual UK supporter, chances are you know Will Johnson. You may not know him by name, but if you saw his big stature, crazy hair and intensely passionate game face on the video boards at UK Athletics events, you'd recognize him.
Johnson has become a mainstay at UK sporting events. Whether it's men's basketball, football, volleyball or the occasional soccer match, Johnson, a telecommunications junior at UK, is quickly earning the nickname "Super Fan," for his unwavering dedication for UK sports.
The longtime UK fan is best known for his unmatched infatuation and passion at UK games. Watching Johnson roam the sidelines at UK's volleyball games or cram the stands at Rupp Arena to heckle the opposing team has become the norm for some of UK's student athletes. He rarely misses a game, and it's almost unheard for a fan to match his sheer intensity in the stands.
"Will is one person that we know will show up for every game," senior volleyball setter Sarah Rumely said. "He is capable of getting the entire Memorial (Coliseum) crowd into the game and cheering for us. His energy is contagious, it helps our team out and is suffocating to our opponents."
Johnson has been bleeding blue since he was a child. His father is a UK alum and he always knew he wanted to follow in his footsteps and attend UK.
"Good athletes and good people" is how Johnson describes UK and its athletics department. Since his freshman year he has showed support by attending football games, and soon after he started frequently attending volleyball games.
Three minutes into his first volleyball game he realized he had no idea what was going on, but he was hooked. He called his rapid love for his newfound sport "instant gratification."
Not only does Johnson seem to find his way onto the video boards at most events, he always seems to have the best seat in the house. It never fails - Johnson is always in the front of the student section at football games, in front of the "Big Blue Blockers" at volleyball games and front and center of the "eRUPPtion Zone" at basketball games.
How does he manage to literally have the best seat in the house for every event?
"The early bird gets the worm" he said.
Getting there early often secures his seat although it doesn't hurt to have some contacts in the Student Athletic Council. Johnson has put in long hours of standing in line and waiting outside of ticket offices to receive his front row tickets. More than once he has found himself waiting outside of Rupp Arena at 5 a.m. to get his eRUPPtion Zone admittance.
"It's freezing outside in line but once you get inside it's worth it," Johnson said. "You're front and center and it's worth it every time. You're part of history."
Johnson doesn't just show up by himself to support the Cats; he always brings his entourage of buddies with him. His roommates and friends coordinate their schedules with weekly sporting events and attend as many as possible. Each sport has a different group of his friends who attend. It's a personal preference to each person's favored sport, but Johnson usually attends them all.
Johnson attributes his game-day intensity and love for UK sports to his passionate demeanor and general approach in life.
"When I feel a passion towards something I give it my all," Johnson said.
In high school he participated in football but never played the role of the star player. However, that never stopped him from supporting his teammates, and he said it gave him more motivation to get the crowd involved in the games while he was on the sidelines. He found the role a comfortable fit when he landed at UK.
Johnson, whose favorite sporting events are basketball, football and volleyball, has been giving his time and effort to UK sporting events since he started school in Lexington. Johnson said he doesn't personally know any of the players, but that's never stopped him from cheering them on like they were his own teammates.
"It's UK, it's Kentucky," Johnson said. "It's what I'm about and it's who I am."
The genuine nature of Johnson's passion for UK Athletics is easy to see when he is puts himself in the middle of a quiet unmotivated crowd and turns it into immediate cheering chaos. Johnson's persistent heckling and cheering single-handedly has transformed some of UK's sporting events into hostile environments.
However, he'll never take credit for helping with a victory. It's all for the passion and love for UK Athletics.
"I do it because I love UK. It's in my blood," Johnson said. "I love the athletes and what they're about. If no one knew who I was I'd still have the same passion. We're united through sports and the passion for blue, white and athletics."