Colleen Johnson is entering her third season at Arizona. Johnson joined Wildcat program after spending five years as assistant coach at North Carolina State University where she was named Southeast Region Assistant Coach of the Year in 2003. At Arizona, Johnson is responsible for choreographing the floor exercise routines, assisting with music selection and editing, coaching primarily the balance beam while assisting with all practice activities. Her duties extend beyond the gym and into assisting with scouting and recruiting, and marketing and public relations for the program.
"Colleen has brought the next level of coaching ability to our program with regards to beam and floor choreography,” head coach Bill Ryden says. “Her ability to raise each athlete's performance to a higher level is evident by the quality that is seen on the competition floor."
A Canadian National Team Member from 1988-1991, Johnson was on the 1991 Canadian Bronze Medal Team at the Pan-American games. Johnson then attended the University of Florida where she was a four-year starting competitor earning both athletic and academic All-American honors. In addition to her All-American accolades, Johnson was named to All-SEC honors while leading the Gators to four consecutive NCAA Championships and one Super Six finish as a team captain. In her fifth year at Florida, Johnson assisted with coaching the team, and earned her bachelor’s degree in public relations in 1996.
After graduating from Florida, Johnson explored a career in public relations. She worked full-time at a public relations firm in Vancouver, Canada, while doing freelance choreography and coaching on the side. Dance has always been a major aspect of Johnson’s life. In 1998 she auditioned and was accepted to Cirque du Soleil but declined the role. Instead, Johnson took a position at NC State to begin her career coaching collegiate gymnastics.
“I love being with the girls in the gym and relating to them based on what they are going through, remembering my experiences as a student-athlete,” said Johnson. “When I am coaching I try to read what strategy of coaching works best for each of the girls. Some need a softer approach, while others need a little more of a push. I always try to do what is best to get the best result from each one of them. Aside from the gym, I aim to be someone the girls can talk to and confide in when they need support.”