April 22, 2004
Although Johnson may not be familiar with Pullman, he is no stranger to the Cougar coaching staff. Johnson played for Dick Bennett at Wisconsin-Green Bay for four seasons (1989-92) and was a teammate of WSU Assistant Coach Tony Bennett during that time. In addition, Johnson spent seven seasons (1995-2002) as an assistant coach under current Washington State Assistant Basketball Coach Mike Heideman at his alma mater.
Bennett added, "He is an accomplished coach having been an assistant at Wisconsin-Green Bay and a head coach in Australia. He also has experience as a professional player in Australia for a number of years. I wanted to hire Ben when I came to Washington State, but he was under contract in Australia at the time."
Johnson spent time as a player/coach in Australia from 1993-95 and 2002-04. He was the head coach for the Kuiyam Pride Under 23 Men and Kuiyam Pride Women in the Australian Basketball Association (2002-04). In 2003, he was named Women's Australian Basketball Association Coach of the Year.
A native of Stevens Point, Wis., Johnson graduated from Wisconsin-Green Bay with a degree in communication. He replaces Mike Burns, who left WSU after one year to become the head coach at Eastern Washington.
"I am extremely grateful because this is a tremendous opportunity for me to join coach Bennett and his staff at Washington State," Johnson said. "I look forward to helping the Cougars bring great student-athletes to the Pullman community and the University."