Trent Johnson has put together a winning record in his 13 years of coaching, and he succeeded by doing things the old-fashioned way.
Johnson was announced as the new men’s basketball head coach Monday following Jim Christian’s departure for Ohio University last week.
After coaching at Nevada, Stanford and LSU, Johnson’s career head coaching record stands at 226-185. He attributed that success to his basketball-oriented lifestyle.
“I’m a morning, noon and night guy,” he said. “I wish I golfed. I wish I had some social life, but my life is in the gym and in sports.”
The university’s rise in athletics could be attributed to detail-oriented, family-driven coaches such as head football coach Gary Patterson, head baseball coach Jim Schlossnagle and athletics director Chris Del Conte. Del Conte said he believed Johnson fit the mold on and off the court.
“He’s a classy individual, and I think he fits our motif,” Del Conte said.
Five of Johnson’s teams have played in the NCAA Tournament, making it to the Sweet Sixteen twice. The first step in the journey to the tournament was taking care of your business in conference play, he said.
“The bottom line is winning your conference championship,” Johnson said. “That’s the goal.”
As far as his on-court style, Johnson said the team would focus on the fundamentals.
“We’re going to play as fast as we can play well,” he said. “I give the kids a lot of freedom on the offensive end. The bottom line for me is they’re going to defend, and they’re going to rebound. They’re going to take care of the ball and play extremely hard. The other stuff takes care of itself.”
Johnson said recruiting well in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex would be important because there was a lot of talent in the area.
His basketball staff, which will include three members of Johnson’s LSU staff, will focus on building relationships with Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) coaches, high school coaches and families. Johnson said relationships were extremely important to him.