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He said “no” to playing in the NFL.

posted Jul 17, 2015, 4:01 PM by Joyce Evans   [ updated Jul 17, 2015, 4:02 PM ]
You may know David Johnston, now in his 30th year in the mortgage lending industry, as the 2015 chair of the East County Education Committee. The soft-spoken gentleman, who stands 6-foot-4, also is currently serving on the East County District Council.
He also organized the recent Student Career Night, a free program on making the right choices for a possible future career in real estate. Attendees at the event included some of David’s students who are enrolled in his college classes. For the past 10 years, David has been an adjunct professor for the San Diego Community College District, teaching classes on real estate practices and finance and real estate economics and principles.
But did you know that David turned down a contract to play professional football for the National Football League’s Philadelphia Eagles? It was 1977, and David had just graduated from San Diego State University and played offensive lineman for the Aztecs, who finished 10-1 that year.
“The money in the contract offer from the Eagles wasn’t very much,” said David. “Besides, I was mentally done with football and ready to move on. My time in the NFL was like a cup of coffee. I have no regrets at giving up football. However, I still feel it today in my knees.”
The East County native attended Granite Hills High School (class of 1972) and attended Grossmont College, where he was named to the All-State team. He played offensive line and tight end at Grossmont. Recruiters offered him scholarships to play football at USC, Cal Berkeley and Oklahoma State, but he chose the University of Missouri. “I was there during a season when we beat Nebraska, which doesn’t happen often,” David said. After one year at Mizzou, he returned home to attend SDSU his senior year.
After his football days were over, David worked in restaurants for about five years as a bartender and manager before entering the mortgage business with the Hammond Company’s Phoenix office in 1985. “A friend was opening a real estate mortgage company, so I decided to give it a try-out,” David said. “That was 30 years ago.”
After two summers in Phoenix, David’s company expanded to San Diego. “I was glad to get out of the heat and accept the opportunity to manage the new office in San Diego,” David said. The Hammond Company was acquired by Western Financial Savings Bank in 1995.
In 1991, David joined Pacwest Mortgage. Then, in 1995, he began a nine-year stint with McMillin Realty and Mortgage, including serving as senior VP. After McMillin, he worked at General Mortgage, Wells Fargo and iMortgage. He recently joined Movement Mortgage.
In 1998, David got married to Annie, a second-generation San Diegan. They have two daughters. In 1997, David also earned a master’s degree in business administration from SDSU. His thesis consisted of a marketing plan on how real estate sales companies can capture more lending business.
“Nationwide, consumers will agree to choose a mortgage lender associated with the broker only about 12 to 15 percent of the time,” said David. “McMillin used my graduate school studies to increase the percentage to 42 percent on the resale side and about 90 percent for new-home sales.”
In his spare time, David loves to go deep sea fishing with trips to Baja, including the cities of San Quintin and Baja de Los Angeles on the Sea of Cortez for sea bass and yellow tail. He also loves swimming at the health club and cycling with rides of about 30 or 40 miles about three times a week. In addition to PSAR, he is active with the El Cajon Rotary Club and San Diego East County Chamber of Commerce. He is a Chamber ambassador and graduate of Leadership East County, an educational program about the East County region. David recently graduated from Leadership East County’s first masters class.
He participates in PSAR because he admires the selflessness of the members. “PSAR members look out for each other and support each other’s business efforts,” he said. “Everyone is friendly and willing to help. At PSAR, I’m never treated like a number.”