Coach Johnson

Coach Johnson is starting his 12th season as Head Coach of the County Upper Basketball Academy. In eight seasons coach Johnson has guided the Wolfpack’s U19 Elite boys team to three Sweet 16 appearances (Last 16 teams in the Country) and two Elite 8 appearances (Last 8 teams in the Country), as well as guiding their U17 Elite boys team to the National Championship Final in 2013.

Within these 8 seasons Coach Johnson has also help develop and place 24 players from County Upper Basketball Academy and another 7 aspiring basketball players from outside the CU Basketball Academy with American Universities at the NCAA, NAIA and NJCAA level to continue their basketball and educational careers.

Not only have players gone on to Universities in the USA but 14 players have also gone on to UK Universities. Not only have players gone on to play in the college ranks in the USA, but two players from the County Upper Basketball programme have also gone on to play professional basketball in Europe and England.

Having a resume that includes spells in the USA as both a player and Coach he has also had a short spell as a coach with a professional team in the UK that competed in Europe. He is currently one of very few if not the only English coach to have coached in the NCAA Div 1 and Euroleague.

Coach Johnson began his coaching career as the head student manager on Orv Salmons staff with the Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC) Bears for the 2000 – 2001 season. Starting the season responsible for getting practise and games ready Coach Johnson worked his way up the coaching ladder to finish the season as the head student manager responsible for assisting the head coach and assistant coach in all-day-to-day related duties with the basketball programme. This was the first season at DMACC for Orv Salmon an Iowa Hall of Fame coach and the first of nine consecutive 20+ winning seasons for the DMACC bears before Coach Salmon retired leaving behind him one of the best win – loss records in the state of Iowa. Finishing the 2000 – 2001 season DMACC were ranked 4th in the NJCAA DII National Poll, and recorded a school record (at the time) 26 wins and 4 losses while grabbing DMACC’s first ever Iowa Community College Athletic Conference Championship..

Coach Johnson returned to England in 2007 after coaching one season (2006 – 2007) as the Graduate Assistant Coach on Thomas Shuberths’ staff with the University of Texas Pan-America (now The University of Texas Rio Grand Valley). UTPA are an NCAA Div 1 University based in South Texas. Coach Johnson was on the staff which took a programme that had won only six games the previous year and not had a winning season in five years to a 14 wins and 15 losses record, this is the best turnaround team of all 20 NCAA Div 1 schools in the state of Texas. The Broncs also produced an 11 – 2 home court record in the same season which is one of the best home records in programme history. While with the Broncos Coach Johnson assisted with all-day-to-day related duties and was in charge of all game film exchange and team managers. Coach Johnson also worked with the development of UTPA’s perimeter players.

Prior to his role at UTPA Coach Johnson served as a Graduate Assistant/Student Manager for three seasons (2003 – 2006) on Dave Boots’ staff with the University of South Dakota. At the time USD were one of the best NCAA Div 2 programmes in the country, as they were repeatedly ranked in the Top 20 Div 2 programmes by the NABC National Poll. While with the Coyotes, Coach Johnson assisted with all-day-to-day related duties, and worked with the development of both the perimeter and post players. In Coach Johnson’s first season USD got their first of seven consecutive 20+ winning seasons and their first of five consecutive NCAA Division II National Tournament appearances. The 2004 – 2005 Men’s Basketball Team was inducted into the 2016 South Dakota University Hall of Fame for winning a programme record 27 games, Capturing the programmes second North Central Conference Tournament Title and reaching one of eight Sweet 16 appearances in the NCAA Division II National Tournament. During his tenure at USD Coach Johnson also coached Hall of Fame inductees Turner Trofholz a two time ALL-American and the 2006 NABC NCAA Division II National Player of the Year as well as well as Josh Mueller South Dakota’s career leader in assists, steals and three pointers.

Prior to his role at The University of South Dakota Coach Johnson served as an Assistant coach for two seasons (2001 – 2003) with the Kinder London Towers on the staff of Lino Frattin and Dave Lindstrom.

While with the Kinder London Towers Coach Johnson assisted with all-day-to-day related duties with the men’s first team and also coached basketball in the community. During the 2001 -2002 season, while competing in their domestic league the BBL (England’s professional league) the Kinder London Towers also competed in the Euroleague which is the premier basketball competition in Europe, the Towers also competed in the Northern European Basketball League (NEBL). 

During the pool stages of the Euroleague coach Johnson assisted the head coached against some of the best teams in Europe such as FC Barcelona, Ulker Istanbul, Zalgiris, Kinder Bologna and Union Olimpija. While competing against these team Coach Johnson coached against some of the best players in Europe including Manu Ginobili who was then with Kinder Bologna the year before he joined the San Antonio Spurs in the NBA. During the pool stages of the NEBL coach Johnson assisted the head coach against teams such as Yambolgaz from Bulgaria,  Polonia Warbud from Poland and the Birmingham Bullets from England. In the final pool game of the NEBL the Kinder London Towers lost to Polonia Warbud denying them the chance of reaching the Final Fours. During the Summer of 2002 Coach Johnson was invited to work Junior Tournaments/Camps in the USA and Europe. In the USA Coach Johnson was invited to work the “World Junior Games” with the Dallas Mavericks of the NBA, as well as working the Summer camp run by the Orlando Magic of the NBA. In this same summer Coach Johnson was also offered the opportunity to work basketball camps at Iowa State University, The University of Colorado and The University of Central Florida, and the Future Stars Basketball Camp in Iowa. When back In Europe Coach Johnson headed over to work the Frankfurt Skyliners (German Bundesliga team) basketball academy development camp before returning to London.

Coach Johnson started his collegiate playing career at Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC) during the 1999 – 2000 season. During his freshman year Coach Johnson took time adjusting to the USA style of play and speed and became a role player.

At the end of the 1999 – 2000 season the then head coach Terry Jamieson left DMACC and Orv Salmon took over the rains as the new coach. Battling hard during tryouts Coach Johnson was given a place on the 2000 – 2001 roster by Coach Salmon; however three weeks before returning to the USA Coach Johnson slipped on sweat during a work out with the Colchester Alliance severely twisting his right ankle. The tendons in his ankle never fully recovered ending his basketball playing career. Not wanting to stay in England Coach Johnson made the decision to go back to DMACC to speak to Coach Salmon about what options he had. Coach Johnson grew up in a small village called Brantham in Suffolk England. He started his basketball career at the age of 14, when he joined his local basketball team called the Holbrook Eagles in 1992. Finding it hard to start playing the game with an older age group Coach Johnson left the team a short time after. In 1993 a small group of local players including Coach Johnson started a club called the East Bergholt Wolves, which played their games in Suffolk. In 1994 the East Bergholt Wolves partnered up with the Ipswich Mustangs which gave coach Johnson the opportunity to play in both the Suffolk Junior League as well as the Suffolk Men’s Local League. In 1997 Coach Johnson signed up to play for the newly formed Colchester Alliance Junior National League team. In February of that same season Coach Johnson was offered a tryouts with DMACC in the USA but unfortunately was not accepted. Returning to England for the 1998 – 1999 season Coach Johnson continued to play in the Essex Men’s league (Local League) while working on his skill development everyday. Returning to DMACC in February 1999 for another tryout with DMACC Coach Johnson secured a place on DMACC’s roster for the 1999 – 2000 season.

Coach Johnson
Head Coach

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