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Chris Johnson
Chris Johnson

Chris Johnson


  • USTFCCCA National Women’s Indoor Assistant Coach of the Year (2018)
  • 11-Time Regional Assistant Coach of the Year

Coached athletes to:

  • Four Olympians
  • 1 Olympic gold medalist

Assistant Coach of the Year Awards

NCAA Women’s Indoor Assistant Coach of the Year 2018
NCAA Mid-Atlantic Region Indoor 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011
NCAA Mid-Atlantic Region Outdoor 2008, 2010
NCAA South Central Region Indoor 2016, 2018
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 seventh season at the University of Arkansas, returning to Fayetteville prior to the 2012 season after eight seasons with Penn State.

The first national accolade of his storied career came two weeks after his 11th regional recognition, having been named the 2018 South Central Region Indoor Assistant Coach of the Year after the Southeastern Conference Indoor Championships in February.

Named the National Women’s Indoor Assistant Coach of the Year last season, 2018 saw Johnson led Taliyah Brooks to the NCAA title in the pentathlon as she totaled over 4,500 points along the way. Brooks performance at the NCAA meet led to her earning USTFCCCA honors as she was named the Women’s Field Athlete of the Year. Payton Chadwick was Johnson’s second National Champion at the indoor meet as she ran her way to the NCAA title in the 60-meter hurdles in a school record time of 7.93 seconds.

2018 also saw Johnson also lead his athletes to five program record performances.

  • Sophomore sprinter Jayda Baylark to a school record in the 100-meters (11.04) eclipsing the old mark of 11.10 set by Veronica Campbell-Brown in 2004.
  • Payton Chadwick set the top mark in program history in the 60-meter hurdles (7.93).
  • Freshman hurdler Janeek Brown asserted herself at the top of the list in the 100-meter hurdles running 12.80 – the top-three hurdle times in program history have all come under Johnson’s guidance.
  • Kiara Parker, Jayda Baylark, Janeek Brown, and Taliyah Brooks combined to run the fastest 4-x-100-meter relay in program history in the finals of the SEC Outdoor Championships
  • Tayliyah Brooks extended the program record in the outdoor long jump by over a foot and a half recording a mark of 22-3 at the Arkansas Spring Invitational.

At the SEC meet, Johnson’s event groups were responsible for 36 of Arkansas’ points at the SEC indoor meet, pushing the Razorbacks to their 12th-consecutive conference victory across cross country, indoor and outdoor track and field.

Johnson’s 10th USTFCCCA Assistant Coach of the Year award came following the Razorbacks’ performance at the SEC Championships in 2017 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.