The Newberry College athletics department and head men’s basketball coach Jason Taylor have announced the addition of Jelani Johnson to the staff as an assistant coach with the team.
“I want to thank Coach Taylor, athletic director Sean Johnson, the Newberry staff, friends and family for their support and confidence in me to be able to take this next step in my coaching career,” said Johnson. “I’m blessed to be able to be here and look forward to getting to work with everyone here.”
Johnson joins the Wolves after spending the last three seasons at Plainfield North High School where he served as a special education teacher’s assistant in addition to his coaching duties. He spent the last two seasons as the head coach of the school’s sophomore team after spending just one season as the freshman team head coach.
He has also served as a coach, facility supervisor and girls program director with Supreme Courts LLC since 2015 where he was responsible for designing unique plans for individual practice and training sessions. From 2015-2017, Johnson was playing professionally in Australia, Mexico and France through various FIBA leagues.
“I am extremely excited to have Jelani here at Newberry. He’s going to do a great job for us,” said Taylor. “Jelani played for a great college coach and spent four years playing oversees. Those experiences will help him mentor, teach, and lead our young men. His positive enthusiastic personality is going to make an impact on our campus, community, and our extended alumni family.”
Johnson played all four years of his collegiate competition, his first two at Western Illinois before transferring to Bellarmine to finish out his time. He was a consistent starter in the second year at both institutions making 117 appearances throughout his career while making 56 starts. During his final season at Bellarmine, he averaged over six points a game while shooting for 46% on the year from the floor. He helped lead his team to a GLVC regular season and tournament title in 2012.
He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in communications in 2013 from Bellarmine University.