July 3, 2013
John Henry Johnson, Jr., the 2013 USTFCCCA National Men's Assistant Coach of the Year, has been hired as UCLA women's track & field head coach, UCLA Director of Track & Field Mike Maynard announced today.
A former all-conference decathlete at UCLA, Johnson returns to his alma mater after 19 years as an assistant coach at USC, where he coached sprinters and served as the team's strength coach and recruiting coordinator. This past season, he helped lead USC sprinters Aaron Brown (100m, 200m) and Bryshon Nellum (200m) to three All-America honors. Johnson's sprinters went 1-2-3 (Nellum, Brown and Davonte Stewart) in the 200m, and 1-2 (Brown and BeeJay Lee) in the 100m at the 2013 Pac-12 Championships.
"What John Henry Johnson has done in the sprints and hurdles at USC is widely recognized. Reviving UCLA's strength in the sprints and hurdles legacy and tradition is something that is important to our team philosophy," said Maynard. "I'm excited about John Henry's abilities as a coach, leader, and his drive and ability as a recruiter. Throughout our combined careers we've competed head to head on the track, and the recruiting front. In my opinion, Coach Johnson is one of the finest coaches and recruiters in the NCAA. He follows fellow Bruin and our recently named head men's coach John Frazier back to UCLA. I am very pleased to repatriate another Bruin back into the UCLA family."
Johnson's recruiting prowess has been well-documented, as each of USC's last 17 men's and women's recruiting classes have been ranked among the best in the nation. Johnson recruited the No. 1 men's class in 2009 and the No. 1 women's class in 2006 and also nabbed Top 3 classes in 2012 (women), 2011 (women), 2010 (men), 2008 (women) and 2007 (men).
Johnson recruited to USC stars such as Nellum, Brown, Jerome Davis, Lionel Larry, Ahmad Rashad, Felix Sanchez, Denis Kholev, Charles Lee, Ryan Wilson and Julien Kapek on the men's side, and Angela Williams, Natasha Danvers, Brigita Langerholc, Grezyna Penc and Inga Stasiulionyte on the women's side. He has coached 24 All-Americans and guided a USC athlete to eight Pac-12 titles each in the 100m and 200m races.
A state champion in the decathlon at Long Beach City College in 1987, Johnson became an All-Pac-10 honoree at UCLA and a 7,000+point scorer in the decathlon during his two-year Bruin varsity career (1989, 1990). He was a member of UCLA's 1988 NCAA Championship team as an injured redshirt junior. After graduating from UCLA with a degree in international relations in 1990, Johnson went on to serve as an assistant coach at Long Beach State from 1990-92, working with sprinters and throwers.
"I'd like to thank Mike Maynard and (Senior Associate Athletic Director) Glenn Toth for selecting me for this position," Johnson said. "That such a prestigious university would reach out to me and offer this opportunity is amazing, but being able to come back to my alma mater as a head coach is unbelievable."
"I was on some great teams here at UCLA and truly want to see the program at that level again, and I will work tirelessly toward that goal," Johnson continued. "Developing student-athletes is my life's work, and educating and graduating these talented students is our number one responsibility. I'm excited to get started."