Director of Athletics Robert Lineburg has announced the hiring of Maggie Johnson as Radford University's head softball coach. Johnson, who has extensive knowledge of the program and community, has spent a total of six seasons as an assistant coach for the Highlanders, including her second stint in 2012. She also brings Division I head coaching experience with her, serving as Georgia Southern's skipper from 2009-11.
“We are excited that Maggie Johnson is going to lead this program,” Lineburg said. “Radford softball has developed into a consistent winner and a first-class program, and Maggie has been a part of that growth. In addition, she has outstanding experience in developing a winning program at Georgia Southern prior to returning here – we expect great things from Maggie at Radford.”
“I am very fortunate to have been given this opportunity by Radford University and the Highlander Athletics Department to lead a program that has become increasingly strong over the years,” commented Johnson, who becomes the sixth head coach in program history. “My sincerest appreciation goes out to President Kyle and Director of Athletics Robert Lineburg for providing me with this opportunity. I would also like to thank Stephanie Ballein, Randy Butt, Jo Kiernan and the rest of the selection committee for the time that was put into the hiring process.”
In three seasons with Georgia Southern, Johnson steered the Eagles to an 87-80 mark and an appearance in the 2009 Southern Conference Championship game. Under her guidance, Nina Iduate set a Southern Conference batting average record (.450) to earn Player of the Year honors in 2010. Her pitchers also succeeded as Briana Streetmon garnered two pitcher of the year honors and rookie Allie Miles was tabbed freshman of the year in 2011.
Johnson was the fastest Eagle coach to reach the 50-win plateau in program history and has the highest winning percentage (.536) among GSU head coaches over their first two seasons. One of those victories was at Georgia Tech which snapped the Yellow Jackets' two-year home non-conference winning streak.
In the summer of 2010, Johnson gained professional experience when she was hired as an assistant coach for the Chicago Bandits of the National Professional FastPitch (NPF) League. The season saw the Bandits capture another regular season title and make a championship game appearance. During her stint, she worked with world-renowned pitcher Jennie Finch, league MVP and current national team third baseman Stacy May Johnson and Offensive Player of the Year, Rachel Folden.
The Raleigh, N.C. native returned to the New River Valley for the 2012 season after her stint with the Eagles. Prior to her time in Statesboro, Ga., Johnson began her collegiate coaching career at Radford in the fall of 2003.
“Familiarity with the program is good, especially with what it takes to get the kind of players that we want here,” said Johnson. “At the same time, things will be different – there will be a new look on a program that has been well-built, and we're going to continue to keep moving forward.”
In her first six seasons with the Highlanders, the program recorded 200 wins, reached the 40-win plateau for the first time and broke the home run record in each of her final four seasons. As the squad's hitting coach, Radford slugged 40 long balls in 2006 for the first time in program history and also recorded the highest batting average in 12 seasons.
A 2001 graduate of UNC Wilmington, Johnson was a four-year starter for the Seahawks and earned all-conference recognition in 2001. She later earned a Master's of Education in Counseling from Boston University in 2003.
“It's just an exciting opportunity,” Johnson said. Having been a part of this program and seeing its progress over the last nine years, I can say that it's in a great place. There's still a lot of potential to grow and I'm excited about the opportunity to continue that.”