This archived article was written by: Brianna Johnson
When one first meets men’s basketball Coach Josh Johnston, the first question that comes to mind would most likely be, “How old are you?” The correct answer is 23. Team member Colby Vranes says, “Geeze, he’s only a year older than me! I believe that this reason alone is a major factor as to why he has a really good relationship with the players. He gets along with them so well.”
Coach Johnston graduated from Texas A&M – nationally rated as seventh in the country – this past August, after playing there for three years as a point/shooting guard. He played in the “Sweet 16” as well as three NCA tournaments.
Johnston met College of Eastern Utah head coach, Chris Craig, about 5-6 years ago when playing at UTEP. They became fast friends and stayed in touch. When Craig called Johnston last spring and told him about an opening as head coach of the basketball team at CEU, Johnston jokingly told him that if he got the job, Craig should have him be the assistant coach.
As it turns out, Craig soon became Head Coach Craig, who in return made Johnston into Assistant Coach Johnson. This position makes him the youngest assistant coach in the nation. “I’ve known Josh for almost six years now, and I know that he will be a good coach. He’s played at the highest level of basketball and has earned my trust and we have a sense of loyalty towards each other,” Coach Craig states.
When asked about what his personal goals for the team are, he lists 1) each kid get a scholarship, 2) be a successful team – go to Hutch [Hutchinson, Kan., where the national junior college basketball championships are held each year], 3) each kid graduate, and 4) use his experience to get his team to the Division-1 major level. He states that he is “big into accomplishments as a team”.
His first reaction to Price was “Wow, it’s very small! What am I going to do? I come from a city five times the size of this place!” However, he plans on being here for a while, seeing as he is “very, very happy here.” He is just waiting for the “right opportunity” before he makes any changes with his position here. In the mean time, he is “dying here in the cold.” In Texas, they would cancel school if there was any precipitation and it dropped below 32 degrees, so the weather change has been extremely difficult for the former Texan.
His role model is his father, “most definitely”, because of the way he lived, his personality, character and morals. “The older I get, the more I appreciate him.” Johnston states. His family has been his biggest joy, because of the support and excitement they have for him. They actually came to his first two games that he coached in Price at the BDAC. Besides his parents, he has one older brother and one older sister.
He got interested in coaching when he was a basketball player at Texas A & M for three years and was injured, sidelined and became a player coach. His own coach, Coach Gillespie, always told him to be a coach. After he completed his eligibility, he could not get out of coaching. He wanted to make a difference, have the “opportunity to be what my coaches have been to me. As an assistant coach, I can now be that coach for others, and it is very exciting.”
Coach Johnston and Coach Craig have high hopes for this year’s team, and are doing all they can to help them be as successful as possible. “We’ve got what it takes.”