Deidra Johnson recently completed her third season at Arkansas State.
The 2017-18 season saw a return to the national scene for the Red Wolves, which included a 70-69 road victory over Florida in the early part of the season. It marked just the 16th win over an SEC member school in program history, and it was just the sixth non-conference road win over a higher resource conference school (ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC) in school history.
Johnson also played a key role in the development of Akasha Westbrook, who became an All-Sun Belt Conference Second Team selection after finishing among the league’s leaders in scoring, field goal percentage and free throw percentage. She also led the league in steals (71) and steals per game (2.4), becoming the first A-State player to do so since the early 1990s.
Johnson has also worked close with post players in her tenure and helped mold Lauren Bradshaw into the most prolific shot blocker in school history. Bradshaw finished her career with 176 blocks and in doing so became the school’s all-time career leader in blocked shots, while also ranking among the Sun Belt Conference’s top-15 shot blockers in a career.
In 2015-16, Johnson was a key component on the A-State coaching staff as the Red Wolves posted a school-best 27-6 overall record and a 19-1 mark in Sun Belt Conference record. The 19 league victories were the most in SBC history, as A-State won a regular season championship for the second time in three seasons.
The Red Wolves’ participated in the Women’s National Invitation (WNIT) at the season’s end for the 11th time in their history and posted an opening round home victory over Southern University. The victory extended the program’s home win streak to 25 games, the fourth longest streak in the nation.
Arkansas State averaged 75.0 points per game in 2015-16, the third highest average in school history, and were among the nation’s best in taking care of the basketball and finished with the 12th best turnover margin in all of Division I.
Johnson was vital in helping Aundrea Gamble become the first player in Sun Belt Conference history to win three straight Student-Athlete of the Year awards and she helped the CollegeSportsMadness.com Mid-Major Third-Team All-American improve her 3-point shooting and become just the fourth player in Arkansas State history to average 5.0 or more assists per game.
The A-State assistant also helped mold Khadija Brown-Haywood into an SBC First-Team All-Conference player after the senior led the Red Wolves’ in both rebounding and 3-point field goal percentage. Johnson also worked with Brittney Gill, who was a third-team all-conference pick, who posted a career-high in points per game.
Johnson brings multiple years of coaching experience, including four years at the Division I level that includes stops at Marshall and Texas-San Antonio. Most recently, she spent a season at Blinn College in Texas where she helped the Buccaneers to a 20-win season and a regional tournament berth.
During her tenure at Blinn, the Buccaneers compiled a 20-11 overall record and she helped four players earn Division I scholarships. Four others went on to play at Division II schools, while two of her players earned All-Region with one garnering First-Team honors.
Prior to Blinn, Johnson spent time at UTSA and helped the Roadrunners to a fourth-place finish in the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) in 2012-13. The team followed up its impressive season by advancing to the second round of the WAC Tournament in 2013-14, which included an upset victory over Tulsa.
While at UTSA she was part of a coaching that helped the team lead the Western Athletic Conference in scoring defense (57.7 ppg) and field goal percentage defense (.379), while UTSA ranked fourth in blocks (3.4) and steals (9.7) per game. Under Johnson’s tutelage, Whitney Wright led the team with 39 blocks to set the school’s all-time record (105), while Kamra King earned third-team all-conference honors after leading the team in scoring (9.3 ppg) for the second consecutive season.
Johnson spent two years as an assistant coach at Marshall, where she also served as the recruiting coordinator during the 2011-12 campaign. In addition to her duties as recruiting coordinator, Johnson coached the guards and the group accounted for the top six scorers on the team. The unit also hit 32 percent of its 3-point attempts, which led Conference USA, and the group helped the Thundering Herd hold their opponents to just 56.1 points per game by averaging 10.5 steals per contest.
She also mentored the team’s post players in her first season, including Tynikki Crook, who was named second-team all-conference after leading the circuit in scoring at 16.2 points per contest.
Johnson began her coaching career at Coffeyville Community College in Kansas as an assistant coach before moving on to Chipola College in Mariana, Fla., where she was the team’s recruiting coordinator. While at Chipola she helped the team to a third-place finish in the 2009 NJCAA National Basketball Championship and called the Florida NJCAA Regional Tournament championship.
Before departing after a pair of seasons at Chipola (Fla.) College, Johnson signed the No. 3 recruiting class in the country and coached 10 players that earned Division I scholarships and three that went on to play professionally, including Latoya Williams, recently of the WNBA’s San Antonio Silver Stars. She also coached guards and helped coordinate recruiting during the 2007-08 season at Coffeyville (Kan.) Community College.
From 2005-07, Johnson worked for the Boy's and Girls Club of El Dorado (Ark.). She served as the Teen-Center Director for two years while also working as the SMART Girls Program Director in her final year with the organization.
Johnson began her collegiate playing career at the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith. In two seasons with the Lady Lions, she was named to the All-NJCAA BI State East First Team and the All-NJCAA Region VI First Team.
Following her time there, she finished her college career at Oklahoma State, playing for the Cowgirls from 2002-04. Johnson was named to the Big XII Commissioner's Honor Roll and the National Deans List in her time at OSU and was also a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.