HARTSVILLE, S.C. – Coker College vice president of athletics and athletic facilities Dr. Lynn Griffin announced today that Shannon Johnson has been named the new head women's basketball coach for the Cobras.
"We are excited to have Shannon return to Hartsville to lead the women's basketball program," said Griffin. "She brings a wealth of knowledge and experience, as well as a passion for the game that is second to none. We feel confident that she will help take us to the next level."
Johnson takes the helm in her first head coaching position after having served as the assistant women's basketball coach at Northwestern State University. During her time at Northwestern State, she coached two All-Southland Conference selections.
"Thank you to President Wyatt, Dr. Griffin and the search committee for giving me this opportunity to lead this program," said Johnson. "I am honored to be the next women's basketball coach here at Coker and I am thrilled to have my dream of being a college head coach come true. I know with the help and support of everyone at Coker and in the Hartsville community, this team can do great things."
A native of Hartsville, Johnson is an Olympic Gold Medalist and seven-time WNBA All-Star. She was also an American Basketball League (ABL) All-Star and she played overseas earning Copa De La Reina and Queen Cup MVP honors. During her 10-year WNBA career she played for the Seattle Storm (2009), the Houston Comets (2008), the Detroit Shock (2007), the San Antonio Stars (2004-06), the Connecticut Sun (2003), and the Orlando Miracle (1999-2002). She competed in the ABL for three seasons playing for the Columbus Quest, helping lead them to the ABL championships in 1997 and 1998.
She played internationally in Spain, Italy, Turkey, Poland, and Russia. She led her team to two championships in Spain and she was instrumental in her team's 2008 Queen Cup Championship in Italy.
In 1996, Johnson was a member of the Jones Cup Gold Medal team, one year after earning a Bronze medal in the Jones Cup. She competed in the World University Games in 1997 and was a member of the 1998-99 United States Women's National Team. She was a member of the 2004 USA Women's Basketball Olympic Gold medal team, as well as a member of the 2004 World Champion Gold medal team.
As a student-athlete, Johnson was an All-American and four-time All-SEC selection at the University of South Carolina. In 1996 she was a finalist for the Wade Trophy, awarded to the best player in NCAA Division I, and she set the record for scoring in a season at South Carolina, averaging 24.7 points per game. She is the only player in South Carolina history to average more than 20 points per game for three consecutive seasons (1994-96). She is second all-time in career points (2,230) and points per game (20.5) at South Carolina and in 2004 her jersey was retired and she was inducted into the University of South Carolina Athletic Hall of Fame.
Off the court, Johnson is very active in the community having participated in the WNBA/NBA Care Program that encourages children to stay fit and take care of their neighborhoods. In 2001, she served on the Board of Directors for the Osceola Wish Foundation.
A 1996 graduate of the University of South Carolina, she holds a Bachelor of Science in Retailing.
WHAT THEY ARE SAYING ABOUT COKER HEAD COACH SHANNON JOHNSON
"Shannon Johnson is a great hire for Coker College. She is a basketball state champion from Hartsville High, has her jersey retired at the University of South Carolina, played many years of professional basketball and is an Olympic gold medalist. I had the privilege of coaching Shannon during her college career. Her enthusiastic personality and love of basketball will generate interest from the Coker student body and the town of Hartsville. Her players will be motivated to reach their top potential because Shannon knows no other way to do the job." - Nancy Wilson former College of Charleston and University of South Carolina head women's basketball coach
"My time with Shannon Johnson goes back to 2004 Olympic Games. She's going to be great. Shannon has a lot of relationships here in South Carolina and I'm really happy that she's earned this opportunity at Coker. She knows the type of players it will take to win and will bring a tremendous amount of energy to Coker athletics. I know she will do a great job and I'm glad she's joining the ranks of great coaches in the state of South Carolina." – Dawn Staley University of South Carolina head women's basketball coach