TUESDAY, JULY 14, 2009
JU extends Mike Johnson’s contract through the 2013 season
Head Coach Mike Johnson
Head Coach Mike Johnson
After leading the JU men’s soccer team to Atlantic Sun Conference titles in each of the last two seasons as well as the second round of the 2008 NCAA Tournament, head coach Mike Johnson has received a contract extension through the 2013 season.

Johnson, a former JU men’s soccer player, has served as both the women’s and men’s head soccer coach during his coaching career with the Dolphins. He led the women’s team from 1998-2003, including helping the Dolphins win the 2000 A-Sun Championship and earn a berth into the NCAA Tournament. Johnson was also the head coach of the men’s team in 2000 before fully moving over to take the reigns in 2004.

“This was an easy decision to make,” said JU director of athletics Alan Verlander. “Mike has been a part of the JU family for a long time and we are pleased to have him representing our school for several more seasons. The success of the men’s soccer program has been remarkable over the last two seasons. We know that their success is only in its beginning stages and we expect better things to come in the future.”

JU has become one of the top teams in the A-Sun after Johnson guided the Dolphins to consecutive 10-plus winning seasons in 2007 and 2008.

In 2007, the Dolphins claimed their first A-Sun regular season championship after posting a 7-2 conference record and finishing 11-7-2 overall. Johnson, the 2007 A-Sun “Coach of the Year” also led the JU to its first A-Sun finals since 2001.

In 2008, Johnson 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 in the first round over Louisville before narrowly falling in the second round to national runner-up North Carolina, 1-0.

JU finished a 12-9-1 overall record, while having seven players named to the all-conference squads.

The Dolphins learned how to rally at the A-Sun Tournament with a second half comeback 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.

Following the season, Johnson earned the JU Institutional Excellence Award for his recent success and life-long service to the University.

“I’m excited that President Kerry Romesburg and Alan Verlander are giving me this opportunity,” said Johnson. “We have put a lot of hard work and effort into to building this program and I’m thankful for their support to have the chance to coach this team for several more seasons. The support is exciting for me, my family and the players in our program. I look forward to continuing the recent success that we have had.”

Since returning to the men’s program in 2004, Johnson has seen the Dolphins ranked among the top three in the conference in scoring each season, including taking the top spot in 2005 and 2006. The program has tallied 19 all-conference honors, nine all-freshman accolades and had at least one player named to the adidas/National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) all-region team in the last five seasons.

Johnson also coached Tommy Krizanovic (2006) and Anton Axlesson (2007) to consecutive A-Sun “Player of the Year” honors. Krizanovic, who led the nation in scoring as a senior, became the first player JU, as well as first in A-Sun history, to be selected in the Major League Soccer draft when he was taken in the fourth round of the 2007 SuperDraft by FC Dallas.

In 2009, Axlesson became the first male athlete in school history to earn A-Sun “Student-Athlete of the Year” honors since the Dolphins joined the conference in 1999.