Johnson to stay at Ozarks

Release Date: 4/6/1999

Clarksville, Ark. --- University of the Ozarks men's basketball coach Johnny Johnson has withdrawn as a candidate for the head coaching vacancy at Arkansas Tech University.

Johnson, who was one of three finalist for the job, interviewed at Tech last Thursday and Friday. Johnson said he contacted ATU President Dr. Robert Brown and Athletic Director Dr. Earle Doman on Sunday and informed them that he was withdrawing his name from consideration.
  
"It was an agonizing decision, but I feel like Clarksville and University of the Ozarks are where my family and I belong," said Johnson, who has compiled a 140-109 record in nine seasons at Ozarks. "Arkansas Tech would be a great place to work, but it would be very difficult to leave this community, our church and this university. Our roots here have grown deeper and deeper in our time here. This is where we belong."

Johnson, who earned a master's degree in education from Tech in 1992, said he and his family made the decision to withdraw after Johnson visited with Ozarks President Dr. Rick Niece on Sunday. He said one of the deciding factors was Ozarks' commitment to improving athletic and recreational facilities and funding.

"After visiting with Dr. Niece, I became more convinced about the commitment the university is making for the future," Johnson said. "I think we're on the verge of an exciting time for the university and for the athletic program and I'd like to be a part of it."
   
Johnson said that Tech's basketball facilties, NCAA Division II status and its proximity to his parents' home in Magazine made the job "very enticing."
   
"Tech has outstanding people and whoever they hire will be very fortunate," he said. "Being a Tech graduate, I wish them the utmost success. We just felt we belong at Ozarks. The people in this community, our church family and the people at Ozarks have made Clarksville very special to us. We are extremely happy to be staying."
   
Johnson was named Arkansas Intercollegiate Coach of the Year in 1993 and NAIA District 17 Coach of the Year in both 1993 and 1994. He and his wife, Robin, have two sons, Drake and Bryce.