Any fan who has attended a University of Delaware event at Delaware Stadium, the Bob Carpenter Center, or Delaware Field House over the last 40 years has probably noticed or interacted with Sylvester “Vest” Johnson in one way or another.
Johnson, 64, has been a staple of the Blue Hen athletics staff from 1976 until 1991 and a leader in the daily operations of the Bob Carpenter Center since 1992. Over a four-decade career, Johnson has established himself as a fixture in the history of UD Athletics.
A 1975 University of Delaware graduate, Johnson announced in Oct., 2015 that he will retire following the 2015-16 academic year.
A native of Jacksonville, Fla., Johnson moved to Milford, Del. as a youngster and earned his degree in business from Delaware in 1975. He was hired at UD by former longtime assistant athletics director and UD Athletics Hall of Fame member Raymond B. “Scotty” Duncan in 1976 moved directly into the position of assistant to the director for promotions and sales, serving in that capacity until 1989.
He coordinated all promotional efforts for the UD athletics department, worked closely with the football and basketball programs, coordinated championship events and student ticket operations, and produced radio advertisements.
Johnson was promoted to the position of assistant athletics director for sales and events in 1989 and oversaw UD football and basketball ticket operations, internal and external event management, daily football program operations, and Delaware Stadium and Delaware Field House (the former home of UD men’s and women’s basketball) risk management.
When the Bob Carpenter Center opened in the Fall of 1992, Johnson took over major responsibilities in the daily operations of the 5,000-seat, state of the art facility. As assistant director for operations, he coordinated, handled staffing, and oversaw all events that were scheduled in the facility. He managed everything for a specific event, including set-ups, breakdowns, security, equipment, supplies, safety, labor, and general troubleshooting.
For much of his 40 years at UD, Johnson was a leader of football gameday operations and was a familiar face throughout Delaware Stadium, making sure everything surrounding the event ran smoothly. In his role in the BCC, he oversaw maintenance of the facility and took special pride in doing everything necessary to provide a safe environment for fans, participants, and employees.
Another huge role of Johnson’s was managing the BCC event staff, which consists mostly of students and members of the local community. He built a large network of employees and developed a life-long connection to hundreds as a mentor and advocate.
Johnson and his wife, the former Charletta Pettyjohn, reside in Bear, Del. and have four children - Adrienne, Erika, Tiffany, and Brandon - and four children. Charletta is a 1976 graduate of Delaware, all three of their daughters are also UD graduates, and Brandon is a graduate of Delaware State.
|Position:||Associate Director, Bob Carpenter Center|