FAYETTEVILLE – University of Arkansas women’s cross country and track and field head coach Lance Harter has announced the addition of Chris Johnson as associate head coach to his staff. Johnson will oversee the Razorbacks’ efforts in the sprints, hurdles and jumps. He will also assist with Arkansas’ multi-event competitors. Johnson spent the previous eight years at Penn State University, the last four seasons as the Nittany Lions’ associate head coach.
“We’re certainly excited to welcome Chris back to Fayetteville,” Harter said. “He did a fantastic job during his time at Penn State and when we performed our national search to fill the position, Chris’ name came up immediately with everyone we consulted.”
In 2012, Johnson oversaw the performances of 14 All-Americans—five indoor and nine outdoor—and guided the Penn State men to the program’s first-ever 4x400-meter title at the Big Ten Championships. During his career with the Nittany Lions, he saw his athletes earn two NCAA titles and 36 conference crowns, split between 22 individual and 14 relay victories.
On the heels of a standout performance by his team during the 2012 season, Johnson was named the 2012 USTFCCCA Mid-Atlantic Men’s Outdoor Assistant Coach of the Year. It was the seventh award for Johnson for his work at Penn State. In addition to indoor coaching honors in 2009 and 2011, he also swept the USTFCCCA indoor and outdoor accolades in 2008 and 2010.
Under his direction, former Penn State sprinter Shana Cox won an NCAA title at 400 meters in 2008 and was part of the Nittany Lions’ national champion 4x400-meter relay team that also included Aleesha Barber, Dominique Blake and Gayle Hunter. Cox and Shavon Greaves finished their Penn State careers as 15- and 14-time Big Ten champions, respectively.
Also with Johnson’s guidance, Greaves was the 2012 Big Ten Indoor Athlete of the Year, Hunter was a five-time Mid-Atlantic Region Field Athlete of the Year and Fawn Dorr was named the 2010 USTFCCCA Mid-Atlantic Track Athlete of the Year.
Johnson is no stranger to the Razorbacks, having spent two years as a graduate assistant on Harter’s staff during the 2003 and 2004 seasons. In addition to his duties with the Arkansas sprinters and hurdlers in that time, he worked directly with NCAA champions Veronica Campbell and LaShaunte’a Moore. The Razorbacks won two Southeastern Conference titles—2003 indoor and 2004 outdoor—while Johnson was in Fayetteville.
Johnson is married to the former Gi-Gi Miller, a 2001 NCAA triple jump champion and four-time All-American during her collegiate career at Arkansas. She still owns the school records in the indoor and outdoor tiple jump and heptathlon. The couple was married in October 2005.
An outstanding athlete in his own right, Johnson graduate from Lamar University in 1999, earning a degree in kinesiology. During his collegiate career, he was a Sun Belt Conference champion at 400 meters.
For more information regarding Razorback track and field or University of Arkansas athletics, please visit ArkansasRazorbacks.com.