Johnson replaces Milligan for Belles
By KATIE McVOY
Associate Sports Editor
Athletic director Lynn Kachmarik announced last week the athletic department hired Bobby Johnston of McLean, Va., to take the helm of the Belles' soccer program. McLean replaces two-year head coach Jason Mulligan, who resigned at the end of the 2000 season.
Johnston, who was named "All-Metropolitan Coach of the Year" by the Washington Post in 2000, spent the last two years as the varsity girls' soccer head coach at Potomac High School. During Johnston's time at Potomac, the girls' soccer team finished fourth in the Washington Post's Top 10 Ranking and won the Independent School League AA Title and Tournament Championship. The team finished the season 14-3-2. Johnston was named NSCAA Virginia Private School Girls' Coach of the Year in 1999.
Johnston is excited about the transition to coaching in a college program.
"I've been coaching high school and younger women for six or seven years, and have been training Division I athletes to get ready for their college program," Johnston said. "The game of soccer is the game of soccer. I'm going to teach the game."
Johnston takes over at a critical point in the Belles' soccer program, as the team struggled to a 3-13-1 overall record and 3-10-1 record in the MIAA last fall. Working on attitude and goal setting will be two of the aspects Johnston will focus on to boost the team's record.
"I definitely want to be realistic," Johnston said. "The team wants to have a better season. Attitude will be a big factor — when they step onto the field, they have to believe in themselves. I think they lost a few close games last year because they didn't believe in themselves."
Players and administrators are excited about Johnson joining the Saint Mary's soccer program.
"[Johnston] is going to be an excellent addition to our program," team captain Heather Muth said. "He is very enthusiastic and more than willing to do whatever he can to take our program to the next level."
"[Johnston's] enthusiasm, his knowledge, his work ethic and his commitment to excellence is what this program wants and what this program needs," Kachmarik said.
"I think that [Johnston] brings to this [program] a level of expertise that we've not had before," Kachmarik said. "He has great experience with women athletes and high goals."
Players will look to use Johnston's experience and enthusiasm as a benefit to the Saint Mary's program.
"I think his best quality is his energetic personality," Muth said. "I'm truly impressed by how quickly he assumed the role of our new coach and it's obvious that he is really dedicated to our team."
Johnston's dedication is already surfacing. Division III teams are allowed to have a spring training session and Johnston has taken advantage of that allowance, flying in from Washington D.C. several times to work with the team.
"Coach is sincerely interested in turning our program around and he has already done a lot of work to prepare for our fall season," Muth said.
In addition to his coaching skills, Johnston will also be reaching out to the community. While at Potomac, Johnston founded Kicks for Kids, providing non-competitive, co-educational instruction.
Johnston will be coming to South Bend with his wife, who will be teaching at Stanley Clark Elementary.
Johnston attended James Madison University, where he played Division I soccer and earned his undergraduate degree in finance. He holds a graduate degree in education from Shenandoah University.
Johnston will be joined by assistant coach Lisa Reinke. Reinke will also be in her first year as a coach at Saint Mary's, although not in her first year at Saint Mary's. Reinke graduated from Saint Mary's in 1997 where she played soccer for the Belles.
"[Reinke] will compliment the staff with her connections to the community," Kachmarik said.
All Sports Stories for Tuesday, April 3, 2001