Newman University Athletic Director Joanna Pryor has announced Nicole Ohlde-Johnson will be joining her husband, Drew Johnson, to lead the women’s basketball program. Ohlde-Johnson comes to Newman from Bethel College where she spent the past four seasons.
Newman athletic director Joanna Pryor believes the program will benefit from the coaching duo, “I truly believe the hiring of Nicole and Drew marks a new and exciting chapter for our women’s basketball program.”
“Their basketball knowledge and reputation within the basketball community locally and throughout Kansas will certainly make an impact, but more than that, I am delighted they are a perfect fit for Newman’s culture and core values of excellence and student centered.”
Ohlde-Johnson is eager to get started, “I am beyond excited and thankful to join the women’s basketball coaching staff at Newman University. You can tell from the moment you step on campus that this is a special place to be.”
“I built my career on continuous improvement and I’m ready to bring that mentality to Newman,” Ohlde-Johnson said. “I look forward to helping our young women grow as players, but even more so, in all areas of their lives so they can make a positive impact and be difference makers at Newman and beyond.”
Ohlde-Johnson had an incredible playing career. She played collegiately at Kansas State from 2000-04 where she was a two-time first-team All-American. Ohlde-Johnson left Kansas State as the school’s all-time leader in points (2241), rebounds (970) and blocked shots (201). During her career she played in 126 games, averaged 17.8 points and 7.9 rebounds per game while shooting over 55 percent from the field.
Ohlde-Johnson was the sixth overall pick in the 2004 WNBA Draft, going to the Minnesota Lynx. In her rookie season, she averaged nearly 12 points and 6 assists per contest. After five seasons in Minnesota, Ohlde-Johnson was traded to the Phoenix Mercury in 2009. She would go on to win the 2009 WNBA title as a member of the Mercury. On July 22, 2010, Ohlde-Johnson was traded again, this time to the Tulsa Shock, where she would play the remainder of the season before announcing her retirement from the WNBA. She then went on to play for nine more seasons professionally in Europe.
Ohlde-Johnson racked up numerous accolades during her playing career. She was a Kodak All-American, an AP first team All-American, a USBWA All-American and the Big 12 Conference Player of the Year in her 2003 and 2004 seasons. She was first team All-Big 12 as well as Academic All-Big 12 first team in 2002, 2003 and 2004. During her freshman season, Ohlde-Johnson was named the Big 12 Freshman of the Year as well as third team All-Big 12. She was a two-time gold medalist as a member of the 2002 and 2003 USA Basketball Championships for Young Women team. During her professional career, Ohlde-Johnson was named to the 2006 USA Basketball Senior National Team for the USA’s European Tour and was a member of the 2009 WNBA Championship winning Phoenix Mercury.
In 2017-18, Johnson and Ohlde-Johnson took over the Threshers women’s program which had a 4-26 record season the year prior. In their first season at the helm, the Johnson’s tripled the previous season’s win total going 12-18. In year two, Bethel had one of their most historic seasons going 20-10, setting a new school mark for wins. The 2018-19 team broke numerous program records and hosted its first KCAC postseason contest in eight years. In their final season at Bethel, Johnson and Ohlde-Johnson led the Threshers to their first ever NAIA National Tournament appearance. During her four seasons at Bethel, Ohlde-Johnson coached nine ALL-KCAC honorees and three All-American selections. Ohlde-Johnson turned Abby Schmidt, an under-recruited forward from Newton, Kansas, into a three time All-American selection. During Schmidt’s four seasons, she accrued a KCAC Conference record of 1,399 career rebounds, was a three time KCAC Defensive Player of the Year and three time First Team All-Conference selection.
Ohlde-Johnson is a native of Clay Center, Kan., she currently resides in Newton, Kan. with her husband Drew and their son, Dax. Ohlde-Johnson will serve as co-head coach for the Jets.