Colleen Johnson is entering her seventh season at Arizona, where she has added to her already stellar reputation as one of the top assistant coaches in the nation. In the 2007 season, Johnson was named Co-South Central Region Assistant Coach of the Year.
Johnson joined the Wildcat program after spending five years as assistant coach at North Carolina State University, where there she was named Southeast Region Assistant Coach of the Year in 2003.
At Arizona, Johnson is responsible for choreographing the floor exercise routines while coaching primarily the balance beam and assisting with all practice activities. Aside from coaching and choreography, Johnson is heavily involved in the marketing and promotions of the program, administrative duties, the team attire (leotards, warm-ups, public appearance attire, etc), and produces every piece of custom music for the team's floor routines.
Johnson has played a big role in the Wildcats success since here arrival in 2004, according to Ryden.
"Colleen has brought the next level of coaching ability to our program with regards to beam and floor choreographing," Head Coach Bill Ryden said. "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 1988-91, Johnson received numerous international medals while representing her country at meets in East Germany, Yugoslavia, France, Bulgaria, and was on the 1991 Canadian Bronze Medal Team at the Pan-American games in Cuba. Johnson then attended the University of Florida, where she was s four-year starting competitor in the all-around, earning both athletic and academic All-America and All-SEC honors. In addition to her All-American accolades, Johnson lead the Gators to four consecutive NCAA Championship appearances and one Super Six finish as team captain in 1993. At Florida, Johnson was ranked second in the nation on beam during the majority of her senior season. In her fifth year at Florida, Johnson assisted with coaching the team, and earned her bachelor's degree in public relations and minored in general education in 1996.
After graduating from Florida, Johnson explored a career in public relations. She worked full-time at a public relations firm in Vancouver, British Columbia, for 2½ years while doing freelance choreography and coaching on the side.
Johnson's inspiration in choreography stems from an extensive dance background, a long history of music in her family, and a passion for the arts. 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 college gymnastics.
"I think of coaching gymnastics as more of who I am than what I do, and I think that is the key to success in any profession. I thoroughly enjoy every aspect of my job, whether its choreography, coaching, public relations, or just being with the girls in the gym and relating to them based my own experiences as a student-athlete," said Johnson. "When I am coaching I try to read what strategy of coaching works best for each girl. Some need a softer approach, while others need a more aggressive approach. I always try to do what is best to get the best result from each one of them."
"I am very passionate about the sport of gymnastics, the success of this program, and helping each girl who comes through Arizona reach their full potential, not just as an athlete, but as a person, while creating a positive environment for them."