April 21, 2011
EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – Southern Illinois University Edwardsville has hired Leah Johnson as its head volleyball coach, it was announced Wednesday by SIU Edwardsville athletic director Dr. Bradley Hewitt. Johnson was a volunteer assistant coach on Debbie Brown’s Notre Dame staff during the 2010 campaign.
“Hiring Leah is essentially a steal for SIU Edwardsville,” Brown said. “She already has the makings of a great head coach – she is highly organized, she communicates very well and she understands the game. Leah is a great teacher and has a great rapport with the student-athletes. I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to work with her.”
At Notre Dame, Johnson was involved in numerous areas of the BIG EAST Conference program including executing practice plans, directing position-specific film sessions, scouting opponents, and tracking opponents’ offense during matches.
Johnson focused on the skill growth of defensive players and primary passers. With the assistance of Johnson, Irish libero Frenchy Silva was recently selected for the U.S. Women’s National A2 Program.
Prior to Notre Dame, Johnson served two seasons as an assistant coach at her alma mater, Missouri State, where she assisted in all facets of the program. She also worked closely with libero Cara Hackmann who was selected as CVU.com’s and the Missouri Valley Conference Libero of the Year in 2009. She was also named the league’s Defensive Player of the Year.
Johnson also served one season as an assistant coach at Texas-Pan American where she also was involved in all facets of the program while specifically serving as the program’s recruiting coordinator. Johnson served as UTPA’s interim head coach during the 2007 Great West Conference Tournament.
Johnson has experience coaching summer and travel camps for Notre Dame, Missouri State, and Kansas.
For two years prior to joining Missouri State’s staff, Johnson owned, directed, and coached Club 417 Volleyball, a USAV program for players ages 15-18 in Springfield, Mo. Her club qualified for the 2005 and 2006 USAV National Tournament.
As a player, Johnson played four years for Missouri State as the Bears won 20 or more games in each of her four seasons. Johnson and Missouri State advanced to the NCAA Tournament after defeating 10th-ranked Northern Iowa in 2003. Johnson was selected to the MVC’s Scholar-Athlete Team as a senior. She also was a three-time recipient of the Missouri State Volleyball Heart Award.