Thomas Johnson is in his first season on the Middle Tennessee men's basketball staff but the hard-working veteran coach is no stranger to basketball in the state of Tennessee or the college level.
Johnson brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the Blue Raider staff after spending more than 20 years as a successful high school and college coach in Alabama and Tennessee. He spent four years on the staff at the University of Alabama - Birmingham, helping lead the Blazers to three winning seasons and a NCAA Tournament berth.
His duties on the Middle Tennessee men's basketball staff include, but are not limited to, recruiting, scouting, film exchange, as well as the day-to-day preparation of the Blue Raider basketball team.
Johnson, who coached Blue Raider Nigel Johnson at Wooddale High School in Memphis, comes to Middle Tennessee after overhauling the Wooddale High School program during his four seasons there. Prior to Johnson's arrival the Memphis high school endured an 0-23 season in 2001-02, but it enjoyed four straight seasons of 22 wins or more in his four years there, including a 24-9 mark in 02-03.
For his efforts, Johnson was named the District 15-AAA Coach of the Year in 2002-03, as well as the Commercial Appeal Co-Coach of the Year for the same season. Wooddale, which enjoyed a 94-36 record and three seasons of 24 wins, won the district championship in 2005-06 and finished second in the district two other times. Additionally, the program reached the Region 8-AAA semifinals all four years under Johnson and missed the state tournament by one game.
Prior to his four seasons at Wooddale, Johnson was on Murry Bartow's UAB staff as an assistant coach for four seasons and was part of three winning seasons and a NCAA Tournament berth in 1998-99 when the squad fashioned a 20-12 mark. The Blazers won the Conference USA National Division championship during the 1998-99 seasons.
Johnson spent 17 years (1981-98) as the head coach at Thompson High School in Alabaster, Ala., before joining the staff at UAB and he enjoyed a sterling 309-191 record. He was a three-time Shelby County Coach of the Year (1982, 1987, 1995) and his teams won five area championships, four area runners-up and reached the Sub-state playoffs on five other occasions.
Johnson's first head coach stop was at Weogufka (Ala.) High School, where his team's posted a 49-29 record during his four seasons.
In all, the successful coach produced a combined ledger of 452-266 for a 63 percent winning percentage in 25 seasons.
"Coach Johnson brings some great experience to our staff after coaching at UAB, but he also has a great presence in Alabama and Memphis as a long-time high school head coach there," Davis said. "He can help us get into two areas that we haven't been in as much as we would like in recruiting and that's a big benefit. He brings a lot of experience to our staff and he's been successful wherever he has coached so we are pleased to have him as part of the Blue Raider program."
Johnson said he has watched with great interest as Davis has turned Middle Tennessee into a consistent winner during his four seasons.
"Kermit Davis has done an outstanding job at Middle Tennessee and I've been able to follow the success being at an in-state high school," Johnson said. "I love the recruiting aspect of college basketball, as well as the high level of competition. There is only one level higher and that's professional basketball. I believe my contacts in Memphis and Alabama will help us in recruiting and I've already contacted a lot of my friends who are coaching high school basketball in those areas to let them know I've relocated and am looking forward to working with them."
Johnson, who played college basketball at Montevallo (Ala.), has two daughters - Adrian (27) and Katie (18), and two sons (Marques (23) and Caleb (12).