HOT: Coaching Change made at D2 Concordia U (St. Paul)

Concordia University, St. Paul Director of Athletics Regan McAthie has announced the promotion of Eric Johnson to interim head men’s basketball coach, effective immediately.

The position has been vacated with former head coach Joey James resigning his position for a new coaching opportunity.

“Eric has always served as an incredible role model, advocate and mentor for the student-athletes in this program. Concordia men’s basketball is in good hands with him as a leader moving forward,” said McAthie.

Johnson has been the top assistant for the men’s basketball staff since arriving with his predecessor (James) in the 2014-15 academic year. In his first year on the bench, the Golden Bears had an 11-win turnaround, going from 8-19 to 19-11 overall and a nine-win gain in NSIC play with a fifth place overall finish in the 16-team Northern Sun (3rd in NSIC South Division).

“I’m extremely honored and humbled for this opportunity,” said Coach Johnson. “I’d like to thank the three men I’ve worked for in my coaching career: first and foremost Joey James, as well as Joe Harge and Dave Boots. They’ve each helped groom me to be ready for a head coaching position. I will do my best to lead this team and continue to take it in the direction we’ve been going. I look forward to taking the next step to get this program where it needs to be.”

He also served as an assistant under James at the University of South Dakota in 2013-14 and was a graduate assistant for the Coyotes from 2008-10. Between his stints at USD, he coached at New Mexico Highlands at the Division II level in the Rocky Mountain (RMAC).

Johnson has been part of multiple championships, including the 2010 Great West Conference regular season and tournament titles with USD and an RMAC tournament championship in 2013.

His career includes all aspects of a basketball program: on-court instruction in practice and games, scouting report development and implementation, recruiting head video coordinator, and coordinating/monitoring student-athletes’ academic progress.

He earned his degree at Wayne State College (Neb.) as an NSIC student-athlete and two-time captain for the Wildcats. He earned his degree in 2008 in speech communications with a concentration in organizational leadership and public relations. He earned his master’s degree from USD in 2010 in athletic administration.

“I’d also like to thank my wife, Amanda, for her continued support, insight and help as I navigate this next step in my coaching career,” he concluded.

Johnson is married to CSP head women’s basketball coach Amanda (Behnke) Johnson. They reside in Hudson, Wisconsin with their two children, Jase and Skylar.

James departs as head coach after five seasons leading the program with a 52-96 career record with the Golden Bears and a 64-114 record as head coach including his 2013-14 season as interim head coach at South Dakota. Concordia produced a 34-76 record in Northern Sun play under James.

“We wish Coach James well in his basketball coaching future, and I’m glad that he has found an exciting opportunity,” said McAthie.

Coach Johnson and the Golden Bears depart for their season opening road trip to Kenosha, Wisconsin for the Parkside Invitational presented by HARIBO where they’ll face the University of Minnesota Crookston on Friday, November 15 at 5 p.m. The bracket-style invitational will pit the Golden Bears against either Parkside or Hillsdale on Saturday.

Story Courtesy Josh Deer (

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