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Chris Johnson
Chris Johnson

Chris Johnson


  • 10-Time Regional Assistant Coach of the Year

Coached athletes to:

  • Four Olympians
  • 1 Olympic gold medalist

Assistant Coach of the Year Awards

NCAA Mid-Atlantic Region Indoor 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011
NCAA Mid-Atlantic Region Outdoor 2008, 2010
NCAA South Central Region Indoor 2016
NCAA South Central Region Outdoor 2013, 2017


  • Aleesha Barber (Penn State)
  • Regina George
  • Taylor Ellis-Watson (Gold Medalist)
  • Chrishuna Williams

Associate head coach Chris Johnson enters his sixth season at the University of Arkansas, returning to Fayetteville prior to the 2012 season after eight seasons with Penn State.

Johnson claimed his 10th USTFCCCA Assistant Coach of the Year award following the Razorbacks’ performance at the SEC Championships where his athletes went 1-2-3-4 in the heptathlon by Taliyah Brooks, Payton Stumbaugh, Leigha Brown, and Kelsey Herman, to add 29 points to Arkansas’ total and vault to a top-4 national ranking. All four athletes set personal records during that event, while Brooks set an Arkansas record with 6,099 points.

The 2017 season saw Johnson’s student athletes produce top performances at both the indoor and outdoor SEC Championships, assisting in Arkansas’ efforts to secure their fourth triple crown.

The sprint and hurdle coach for the Razorbacks began his Arkansas career by coaching his student-athletes to 4 All-America honors, a national championship in the 4-x-400-meter-relay outdoors and a pair of top 10 team finishes at the NCAA Championships.

2015 saw Johnson transition senior Chrishuna Williams from a sprinter to one of the best 800-meter runners in the country. In her first year competing in the event, Williams won a conference championship, broke the school record with 2:01.61 (Payton Jordan Invitational) and posted two top-five performances at the NCAA indoor and outdoor championships.

Over the year, Johnson produced seven All-Americans, four SEC champions (400m, 800m, 4x400m), and two NCAA runner-up performances. The two silver medals from Ellis-Watson (400m) and the 4×400-meter relay team and a top-five finish from Williams (800m) aided in the Razorbacks winning the program’s first national title at the 2015 NCAA Indoor Championships.

Carrying/ the momentum into the next year, Johnson’s group became even more formidable, leading Arkansas to two more conference titles, a fourth program triple crown and its first outdoor national title. Along the way to collecting multiple program accolades Johnson was instrumental in guiding Ellis-Watson to two more SEC gold medals and four additional NCAA silvers. At the NCAA indoor meet his pentathlete trio became the first in the history of the NCAA to all medal in the same championship meet, scoring points which led to a national runner-up team finish.

Fresh off the NCAA outdoor championship meet Johnson coached several Razorbacks to Olympic Trial bids with Ellis-Watson and Williams earning spots on the U.S. national team in the 4-x-400 and 800, respectively. Following through with their development Johnson journeyed to Rio with the pair, training the duo right up until their respective races — Ellis-Watson collecting an Olympic gold for her efforts.

Johnson’s first year in the Ozarks was familiar to him as he spent two years as a graduate assistant with the Razorbacks in 2003 and 2004. During that time Arkansas won two Southeastern Conference titles and was a mainstay at the top of the leaderboard at both the SEC and NCAA Championships.

Johnson had a hand in the development of multi-time Olympic gold medalist Veronica Brown-Campbell and NCAA Outdoor Champion and future U.S. Olympic Relay consideration LaShaunte’a Moore.

Johnson guided the Nittany Lions to 36 Big Ten titles and more than 50 All-American Honors and was named the USTCCCA assistant coach of the year seven times during his stay in State College, Penn. Johnson’s student-athletes played a pivotal role in Penn State women’s fourth-place team finish at the 2010 NCAA Outdoor Championships.