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JohnKnudson_RRRetired Wagner College coach and professor John A. “Johnny K” Knudson ’57 died Friday, Jan. 3 at Staten Island University Hospital following a short illness. He was 86.

Johnny K, who became head athletic trainer at Wagner College following his graduation in 1957, served as a head coach, professor in the physical education department and assistant athletic director, retiring in 1989. Later, he was the driving force behind the formation of the Wagner Athletics Hall of Fame, serving as its chairman for more than 20 years and as chairman emeritus for the past 3 years.

A 1996 inductee into the Wagner Hall of Fame, through the years he played an influential role in countless other Wagner initiatives, serving as a member of the Sal Alberti Golf Classic and as a member of all of Wagner’s athletic support clubs.

“Johnny was a true friend, a great colleague and someone who cared about each and every student athlete who came through Wagner College,” said Athletic Director Walt Hameline. “The best ... Johnny was the best, and our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this time.”

In the many roles that he held on Grymes Hill, Johnny K became a confidant, adviser and lifelong friend to countless Wagner students and alumni, with immeasurable impact over his 50-plus years of committed service to the college.

Knudson’s teaching and service extended beyond Wagner. He traveled the world as athletic trainer for the NIT All-Star teams. For 52 years, he taught safety programs, CPR, swimming and sailing throughout Staten Island and beyond as a volunteer for the American Red Cross. He was also a member of Curtis High School’s alumni board.

A veteran who served in the U.S. Coast Guard from 1945–46 and 1951–54, he was a collegiate swimmer at the University of Colorado who earned a master’s degree in education from Rutgers University.

Matthew Funeral Home, 2508 Victory Blvd., Staten Island, is handling arrangements. Visitation will be Sunday, Jan. 5 from 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m., and Monday, Jan. 6 from 2 to 4 p.m.  Funeral service will be held Monday, Jan. 6 at 7:30 p.m.

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