John K. “Johnny” Wilson was a standout athlete at Marion High School, batting .317 on the baseball team, averaging over 25 points a game on the basketball court, and being named a three-time All-Southwest District and All-Southwest Virginia selection as a wide receiver on the football team. Wilson began his collegiate career at Virginia Tech before transferring to Emory & Henry College, where he was a three-time All-ODAC wide receiver. Wilson was inducted into the Sports Hall of Fame in 2007.
In 1978, Wilson was the ODAC pass reception leader with 44 receptions. He graduated with 119 career receptions, which was number five on the Emory & Henry all-time list upon induction. His 1,798 receiving yards was listed at number six on the college’s record book. During his career, he had a streak of at least one reception in 29 straight games.
After graduating, Wilson worked as a sportswriter for the Bristol Herald Courier before becoming a car salesman. He was inducted into the Smyth County Sports Hall of Fame, also in 2007.