The most familiar with Washington State University men's basketball among the coaching staff, Ben Johnson enters his ninth season as an assistant coach, recruiter and on-the-floor coach at WSU in 2012-13, and his fourth under head coach Ken Bone.
Johnson joined the WSU coaching staff in 2004 under then-head coach Dick Bennett. He coached under the elder Bennett for two seasons before Tony Bennett took over prior to the 2006-07 season.
Johnson was a teammate of Tony Bennett's at Wisconsin-Green Bay for four seasons (1989-92). While at UW-Green Bay, Johnson, a two-year captain, helped lead the Phoenix to one NCAA Tournament and two NIT appearances. During his collegiate career, Johnson was coached by Dick Bennett.
After graduating from UW-Green Bay in 1992 with a degree in business communication, Johnson played three years of professional basketball (1993-95) in Cairns, Australia. While overseas, he began his coaching career, working as a basketball youth development officer and state clinician. During those years, he coached and developed hundreds of Australian players at the local, junior and state representative levels.
From 1995-2002, Johnson returned to UW-Green Bay, where he served as an assistant coach under former WSU Assistant Coach and Director of Player Development/Operations, Mike Heideman. In 1996, he helped guide UW-Green Bay to an appearance in the NCAA Tournament.
In 2002, Johnson made his return to Australia, where he was the head coach for the Kuiyam Pride U23 Men. The following year (2003), Johnson served as head coach for both the Kuiyam Pride U23 Men and the Kuiyam Pride Women. The Pride Women competed in the professional Australian Basketball League. Following the 2003 season, Johnson was named Queensland Australian Basketball League Women's Coach of the Year.
Johnson, a native of Stevens Point, Wis., is married to Nicky, a former WNBL player in Townsville, Australia. They have a daughter, Samira, born in January of 2009 and a son, Aziah, born in May of 2010.
During the 2010-11 season, Johnson helped the team achieve a 22-13 overall mark and to the semifinals of the National Invitation Tournament at New York's Madison Square Garden. WSU's 22 wins tie for the 10th most in school history as it reached 20-plus wins for just the 18th time. The Cougars went 3-1 in the NIT, with the help of Johnson, marking their most wins in a single postseason at the time.
The Ben Johnson File
- Responsible for recruiting Australian Brock Motum, who was named to the Pac-12 All-Conference First Team and as the league's Most Improved Player as a junior in 2012.
- WSU made its second-straight postseason tournament in 2012, reaching the championship round of the College Basketball Invitational (CBI) after advancing to the semifinals of the National Invitation Tournament (NIT) in 2011.
- The Cougars notched a 4-2 mark in the CBI, their most single-season postseason victories.
- Washington State achieved a 22-12 overall mark in 2010-11, tying the 10th most wins in school history, while reaching the 20-win plateau for just the 18th time.
- WSU advanced to the NIT semifinals that year, posting a 3-1 mark in the tournament, the most postseason wins in a single season in Cougar history at the time.
- Helped guide WSU to three-consecutive postseason appearances for just the second time in school history.
- The Cougars' 26 wins in both 2007-08 and 2006-07 tied the 1941 team for the most wins in school history.
- WSU Led the nation in scoring defense in 2008-09 and ranked third in 2007-08.
- The Cougars placed student-athletes on the All-Pacific-10 Conference team nine times in his six seasons as an assistant coach on the Palouse.
- Placed student-athletes on the All-Pacific-10 Conference All-Academic Team 16 times in his tenure as an assistant coach, along with two Pac-10 Scholar-Athletes of the Year.
- During his fourth season as an assistant coach, the Cougars received their highest ranking in school history (No. 4, Dec. 24) in the Associated Press Poll.
- In his third season as an assistant coach, the Cougars received their first national ranking (No. 22, Jan. 8) since Feb. 1983.
- Named the 2003 Australian Basketball Association Women's Coach of the Year.
- Played alongside former WSU head coach, Tony Bennett and was coached by former coach Dick Bennett at UWGB.
Wisconsin-Green Bay (business communication), 1992
1989-92 UW-Green Bay
1993-95 Cairns Marlins (Australian Basketball Association)
2002-03 Kuiyam Pride (Australian Basketball Association)
1993-95 Youth Development Officer and State Clinician
1995-2002 UW-Green Bay - Assistant
2002-04 Australian Basketball Association - professional
- Kuiyam Pride U-23 Men - Head Coach
- Kuiyam Pride Women - Head Coach (2003)
2004-present Washington State - Assistant Coach
Wife - Nicky; daughter, Samira; son, Aziah