NEW ORLEANS — Currently in his sixth season as the associate head coach for the No. 2 Arkansas women’s track and field team, Chris Johnson has been named the 2018 National Women’s Indoor Assistant Coach of the Year, announced Tuesday afternoon by the USTFCCCA.
The first national accolade of his storied career, the award comes two weeks following his 11th regional recognition, having been named the 2018 South Central Region Indoor Assistant Coach of the Year after the Southeastern Conference Indoor Championships.
En route to the prestigious award, Johnson guided his event groups (sprints/hurdles/multis) to 12 program all-time best marks this season, inclusive of two record-breaking performances by Taliyah Brooks in the long jump and Payton Chadwick in the 60-meter hurdles. Both Brooks and Chadwick were multiple-time national qualifiers this season, with Brooks advancing to the national meet in the long jump and pentathlon and Chadwick punching her ticket in the 200, 60-meter hurdles and long jump. Johnson’s dynamic duo went on to score a combined 20 points toward Arkansas’ runner-up team finish at the 2018 NCAA Indoor Championships as Brooks took home the Razorback’s first pentathlon gold in the program history while Chadwick did the same in the 60-meter hurdles.
In addition to the talented pair, 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 coached freshmen Janeek Brown (60-meter hurdles) and Morgan Burks-Magee (400) to top-five finishes at the league level in their respective events. Brown claimed the SEC silver medal in the hurdles and earning a place in Arkansas history as the second-fastest hurdler to run for the Razorbacks. Both freshmen gained entry to the national meet and earned second team All-America honors to close out their first season under Johnson’s guidance.
Since his arrival to Fayetteville, Ark., in 2013 the Razorbacks have won nine out of a possible 11 SEC indoor and outdoor track and field titles.
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