Erik Johnson has been named the new head coach of the Boston College women’s basketball team. Director of Athletics Gene DeFilippo made the announcement today, nearly three weeks after Sylvia Crawley resigned from the position due to health reasons.
“We’re thrilled today at the Heights to announce that Erik will be our new head women’s basketball coach,” DeFilippo said in a teleconference. “We had a lot of very, very talented candidates for this position. A lot of men and women wanted to coach in the Atlantic Coast Conference. I think what it came down to was that we knew Erik, we knew what kind of person he was, we knew his love for Boston College, and we knew he loves to teach people.
“[Johnson] is exactly what we needed.”
Johnson is no stranger to BC, working as an assistant coach for the Eagles from 2006-2008. For the last four years, Johnson served as the head coach at the University of Denver. There, he inherited a team that had gone 11-19 in the previous season, and turned around the program to achieve four consecutive winning seasons.
While he was an assistant at BC, Johnson played a key role in recruiting stars like Carolyn Swords, Stefanie Murphy, and Jaclyn Thoman. DeFilippo called Johnson “instrumental” in bringing those three players to BC.
“It’s a great day,” Johnson said in the teleconference. “I can’t thank Gene DeFilippo enough. This is a huge, huge dream of mine to return to Boston College.”
Johnson noted that his ties to Chestnut Hill played a big role in his desire to come back to BC, as well as players he will get the chance to coach.
“I’ve maintained good relationships with people at BC,” Johnson said. “A Huge, huge formative time of my career was my time at Boston College. My mentors are Gene and his staff at BC. I was thrilled to hear from him. When Boston College calls you, it’s Boston College. It’s a great, great place with great people.”
Though he will now face the challenge of taking over a new team, Johnson displayed confidence in his players, and brings an excitement factor to the future of the program.
“There’s always some growing pains, but there’s some talent, some young talent, and there’s leadership,” he said. “They seem like they’ve really bonded together through this experience [of having a coaching change].
“I think the good news is the talent we have at Boston College fits the way I like to coach really well.”
That style of play, according to Johnson, is an unselfish brand of basketball. He stressed “really efficient ball movement,” as a key, with high assists and a high shooting percentage each game. Johnson said he expected to see a lot of drive-and-dishes, and the use of screens would be important in his system.
This afternoon, Johnson sat his team down at Denver and told them of his decision. He said he would now be flying out to Boston immediately to start working with his new team.
“As soon as humanly possible,” Johnson said as to when he’d be making the move out to Boston. “Next week, we’re going to be in full swing with the workouts.”
DeFilippo said that men’s basketball head coach Steve Donahue played a role in the coaching search, as did the players on the team.
“Coach Donahue gave Erik really high grades in the search,” DeFilippo said.
Noting that he loves teaching his players, Johnson said that this offseason is a special time for him.
“This is a great time of the year,” he said. “I can’t wait to get to work.
“We can be a Final Four team. Let’s go do it.”