By Chris Schmidbauer, Sports Information Director
Toledo, OH -- After a long search, the Owens Men's Basketball program has a new leader. Today, Owens athletic director, JD Ettore, has announced the hiring of Bruce Johnson to be the ninth head men's basketball coach in the history of the program.
"We are very excited to have Coach Johnson aboard as our new men's basketball coach," Ettore said. " The hiring committee had numerous applicants that applied for this position but once Coach Johnson came in he really impressed everyone in the room. He was extremely prepared and he walked the committee through how he would handle academics, recruiting, team goals and community service. I am looking forward to seeing a renewed energy for the men's basketball team with Coach Johnson leading the way."
For Johnson, being the new head men's basketball coach is something he relishes.
"Coaching at Owens is a tremendous honor and privilege," he said, adding, "In my time playing and coaching in the OCCAC I have admired this program from a distance. I am so humbled and blessed to call Owens my home now. I want to thank the committee for not only selecting me out of what I'm sure was a myriad of highly qualified candidates but, for believing in my vision."
Coach Johnson comes to Owens after spending a year at NCAA Division III Oberlin College as an assistant. In his season with the Yeomen, the team won nine more games than it had the prior season. He was also in charge of running the program's prospect camp and he was promoted to Head Junior Varsity Coach after the season. Prior to his time at Oberlin, he was a long time assistant in the Ohio Community College Athletic Conference (OCCAC).
He spent three seasons at Lakeland Community College, where the team was 60-34 during his time on the bench for the Lakers. The team won a conference title, a district championship, and also finished fifth in the 2015 NJCAA Division II Tournament while Johnson was an assistant. He was also the Associate Head Coach with Lorain County Community College. During his time with the Commodores, the team won a District Championship.
His coaching career started at the high school level, where he was an assistant varsity coach for Cleveland Central Catholic High School, The team was 14-10 during his season with the school and they made it to the OHSAA District Final. He has also spent four years coaching AAU basketball for the Score More Athletic Club based out of Middleburgh Heights Ohio.
During his time as an assistant, he has been directly responsible for the recruitment of 26 student athletes including nine starters, two all-conference selections and three captains. At the high school level, Johnson had nine student athletes go on to play at the college level.
With his body of knowledge as an assistant, Coach Johnson feels he is ready to take on the challenge of head coach of the Express.
"Now is the perfect time to utilize all the knowledge and experience I have accrued over the last decade. Seven of the last ten years I have spent playing or coaching junior college basketball. I have the utmost respect for thIS level and have waited many years to be in this position to give back to the game that has blessed me so much."
Johnson will be taking over a program that finished 23-6 a year ago. The team won 14 games in a row before losing to Cuyahoga in the District Final in March. The team featured two All-OCCAC players and one All-District XII member. With so much recent success coupled with the program's rich history, Coach Johnson wants to continue moving the team in the right direction.
"My vision is to create and sustain a culture that will help us win national championships. I also want to teach our student athletes to be hard working, high character. and education driven."
Coach Johnson played two years of NJCAA basketball. He spent the 2008-09 season with Lakeland, and he played the 2009-10 season for Lorain County. He has a bachelors of applied science in physical education from Cleveland State University and an associate of applied science from Lorain County Community College. He grew up in Lyndhurst, Ohio and attended Brush High School.