University of Sioux Falls head men’s basketball coach Chris Johnson, who was named the school’s 22nd head coach in 2008, is in his seventh season at the helm of the program. Since taking over, Johnson has guided the Cougars to four 20-win seasons, three post-season appearances, two conference tournament championships and one regular season conference crown. Just once in his run has the Cougars finished below .500. In fact, he has led the team to 15 wins six times and recorded four 20-win seasons with the 25-10 campaign in 2009-10 the best finish.
In 2014-15, Johnson has guided the Cougars to a 7-13 mark overall, 4-10 in NSIC.
During his tenure, USF is 123-84 (.594), which places him second on the USF men’s basketball career coaching wins list behind Shane Murphy (2001-08, 154-77, .631), who had with 154 career wins. Johnson, who is 139-99 (.584) overall, has compiled a 75-21 mark at home and a 37-53 road record with a 11-8 mark on a neutral floor. In NSIC play, he has a 31-35 record, including a 20-12 mark in home league games.
A year ago, he led the Cougars to a 15-12 record in the NSIC, finishing 12-10 in league play or tied for ninth. During the season, USF won the 1,000th game all-time in program history.
In 2012-13, USF was 12-15 overall, 8-14 in conference play and competed in the program’s first-ever NSIC Tournament, nearly upsetting No. 2 seed Northern State in the first round. Johnson guided the Cougars to a huge 70-58 victory over Augustana, ending an 11-game losing streak to their cross-town rival which dated back to the 1994-95 season.
Coach Johnson’s ability to make adjustments and motivate his players was once again on display during the 2011-12 season. After a 1-6 start, USF went 19-3 in their final 22 games.
Similar to several Cougar teams in 2011-12, the transitional year meant a travel-intensive schedule, typically featuring a road contest against an NCAA DI opponent. For basketball that team was Wyoming, and although it goes down as a loss, USF’s six-point defeat in the final minutes at Wyoming on December 16, 2011, is one that will be remembered for quite some time.
In 2010-2011, Johnson led USF to another 20-win season (24-9, 13-5, 2nd, GPAC) and their second GPAC tournament championship in three years. He was named the Hauff Mid America/ GPAC Coach of the Year. Johnson mentored three GPAC all-conference selections, including a second team selection in junior forward David Maxwell. That season, USF recorded its ninth 20+ win season of the decade.
The 2009-2010 squad rolled to a 25-10 record and 13-5 (2nd) in the GPAC. USF was a perfect 17-0 on their home court. Johnson coached four players to All-GPAC honors in 2009-2010; including first team GPAC and third team NAIA All-American guard Matt Malloy.
Johnson coached the 2008-09 Cougars to a Sweet 16 appearance at the NAIA Men’s Division II National Basketball Tournament in Point Lookout, Missouri.
The Cougars, which finished 20-16 overall (7-11, NSIC, 9th) advanced to the tournament’s second round by upsetting third-seeded Cedarville University (Ohio), 66-63, in round one. USF’s magic run in the tournament ended in a loss to eventual national runner-up College of the Ozarks. Despite the defeat, it marked the first time since 2004 that the Cougars advanced to the second round. Under Johnson’s direction, Sioux Falls won the 2008-09 Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC) postseason tournament championship. Sioux Falls won a remarkable four road games in eight days in the tournament to earn the GPAC’s second automatic bid to nationals. The postseason crown was the third in four years for USF.
Before arriving in Sioux Falls, Johnson was the top assistant coach for three seasons at the University of North Dakota. Prior to joining the UND coaching staff, Johnson spent the 2004-05 season as head coach at Culver-Stockton College. In his lone season as head coach, Johnson led the Wildcats to a 16-15 record, an improvement from the team’s 12-19 record the season prior to his arrival.
He was named 2004-05 Heart of America Athletic Conference Coach of the Year after guiding the team to the first home conference playoff game in program history. Prior to arriving at Culver-Stockton, Johnson served as an assistant coach at Minot State from 2001-04. Before that he served as an assistant at Minnesota State, Mankato (1999-2001) and Central College (1998-99) in Pella, Iowa.
Johnson was a two-year starter as a guard, lettering four times, at Central College and graduated in 1998 with a bachelor’s degree in exercise science. He received a master’s degree in sports administration from Minnesota State, Mankato, in 2005.
Johnson and his wife, Amy, have two daughters, Bailey and Taylor.
|Alma Mater:||Central College (Iowa)|