FRIDAY, JANUARY 23, 2009
Mike Johnson earns JU Institutional Excellence Award
As a JU student-athlete, alum, head women’s soccer coach and now the head men’s soccer coach, Mike Johnson has accomplished a great deal in his career with the latest chapter being the 2008 Atlantic Sun Conference championship and a win in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

With the team’s successful run in the tournament drawing national attention, Johnson has been selected to receive the University’s Institutional Excellence Award at the Board of Trustee dinner on Jan. 27.

The program for the Institutional Excellence Award is to recognize and reward the faculty and staff of Jacksonville University who, through their personal efforts, bring regional, national, or international recognition to the University and thereby enhance its reputation and institutional standing.

“Mike embodies the criteria for this award,” said Alan Verlander, Director of Athletics. “His team accomplished great success this year and helped spread the JU message to the country. I am pleased that he was selected.”

In 2008, he took the men’s soccer team to a new level by leading the Dolphins to the NCAA Tournament, which resulted in a dramatic 4-3 overtime win over first round opponent Louisville before narrowly falling in the second round to national runner-up North Carolina, 1-0.

This season, JU won more than 10 matches for the second consecutive year with a 12-9-1 overall record. They took second in the A-Sun with a 7-2 tally and had seven players named to the all-conference squads.

The Dolphins learned the true meaning of resilience at the A-Sun tournament by rallying to take down Lipscomb and No. 1 seed Campbell to win the conference title. JU was down 3-1 in the championship match to the arch-nemesis Camels, but scored three second half goals to take a 4-3 win and the Dolphins first automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament since 1998.

“I’m extremely excited and honored to receive this award,” said Johnson. “We preach to our team how success is never really a byproduct of one person, it’s a team effort. In this rare case, I get to be the beneficiary of an honor from the success our team had this year.

“I couldn’t be more proud of what our guys did this year. They opened a lot of eyes with our play on the field, which helps put JU in positive light. Hopefully we can continue success and keep putting the college out there on the national level.”