FAYETTEVILLE – Former North Carolina State assistant Johnnie Harris returns to her home state to become an assistant women’s basketball coach for the University of Arkansas, Lady Razorback head coach Susie Gardner announced today.
“I grew up a Razorback fan, and this is a great opportunity to return home,” Harris said. “I’m excited to be working for a great coach and a great recruiter like Coach Gardner. She plays an exciting style of basketball.”
Gardner shared her new assistant’s excitement about returning to Arkansas.
“She’s an Arkansan, and really excited about being here,” Gardner said. “She’s a proven recruiter. At UA-Fort Smith, many of her recruits helped them to the junior college Final Four this year. In her one year at NC State, they also had a great recruiting season.”
The Pine Bluff, Ark., native was with the Wolfpack last season as NC State returned to the NCAA tournament for the first time in two seasons. Posting a 17-15 overall record, Harris helped NC State sign one of the nation’s top 20 recruiting classes, including the junior college player of the year.
“Johnnie brings us new national recruiting contacts, and I think our current players will relate to her as well,” Gardner said.
Harris spent two seasons as the assistant coach and recruiting coordinator for perennial junior college powerhouse Arkansas-Fort Smith, working with legendary coach Louis Whorton. The Lady Lions went 34-8 during the two years at UAFS, including an impressive 26-2 record in 2002-03 and shared the Bi-State Conference title.
Her past season at NC State gave her the chance to work with another coaching veteran, Kay Yow.
“I had an awesome year at NC State and it was a great situation,” Harris said. “Coach Yow was great and it was a wonderful chance to work with a very successful staff. But, professionally I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to move up into the Southeastern Conference and personally it is great to be back home.”
Harris began her coaching career as a graduate assistant with the University of Arkansas-Little Rock in 1998, earning a promotion to full-time assistant coach in 2000.
Beginning her career playing career with two seasons at UA-Pine Bluff, she transferred to Arkansas Baptist for her final two seasons. A graduate of Arkansas Baptist, Harris has two children, Marcus and Kiera.
Photo courtesy of NC State online