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Chris JohnsonHead Coach
College: Liberty '95
Start Date: 8/14/2006
After serving as the head coach of both Liberty's men's and women's tennis teams since August 2006, Chris Johnson now concentrates solely on the men's program. During the summer of 2012, Liberty separated the coaching roles of the men's and women's programs, which were shared since the inception of the women's program in 2000-01.
Since being named the head coach of Liberty's men's team Johnson has led the program to new heights.
Johnson came to Liberty being very familiar with its tennis history, as he was a four-year letterwinner for the Flames men's tennis team from 1990-94, and also served as an assistant coach during the 1995 season. Johnson's passion for Liberty and tennis has led to a host of new accolades for each program.
The Liberty alum has guided the Flames' steady improvement since taking the helm of the program.
Johnson has coached Liberty to six consecutive double-digit win seasons, including a 12-10 record during the 2014 spring campaign. The Flames posted a 5-3 mark in Big South play in 2014, marking the most conference wins in program history. Liberty earned its highest ever seeding for the Big South Tennis Championship, collecting the No. 3 seed. Following the conclusion of the spring campaign, Shea Thomas was tabbed to the all-conference singles team, as well as the all-conference doubles squad with partner Jorge Azuero. Dillon Segur and Egon Samaai also earned all-conference doubles honors in addition to being named to the VaSID All-State doubles second team.
During the 2013 fall tournament schedule, Johnson's No. 1 doubles team of Shea Thomas and Jorge Azuero captured the program's first ever ITA Atlantic Region championship, defeating No. 17 ranked Andreas Bjerrehus and Amerigo Contini of Virginia Tech. The regional title earned Thomas and Azuero a berth in the USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships in Flushing, N.Y. In their first match in Flushing, Thomas and Azuero upset No. 18 David O'Hare and Joe Salisbury of Memphis. Thanks to their success in the fall, Thomas and Azuero climbed to as high as No. 19 in the ITA national doubles rankings.
Johnson led Liberty to a 15-8 record during the 2012 season, marking the program's second best single-season wins total. With the 15 wins, the program posted its fourth consecutive season with double digit victories, totaling 50 wins during the span. At the end of the year, No. 1 singles and doubles player Siim Tuus was honored with Big South all-conference honors in both formats of play, while also earning a No. 16 ranking in the ITA's Atlantic Region.
In 2011, the Flames posted a 10-12 record, while being a team primarily led by underclassmen. The group advanced to the Big South Conference Championship semifinals for just the second time in program history. Holding a No. 6 seed, the Flames upended No. 3 seeded Coastal Carolina, 4-1 to advance.
During the 2010 season, Johnson's men's team racked up a 12-10 regular-season mark. In Big South play, Liberty produced a 4-2 record, tying the 2003 team for the best regular-season conference record in program history.
Johnson's second and third years alone saw marked improvements for the program, posting four and five-win improvements in the 2008 and 2009 seasons. Its 13 victories in 2009 were the second most in program history at the time. Additionally, the Flames' first trip to the Big South Conference Championship's semifinal round came during the 2009 campaign.
Johnson also served as the head women's coach for six seasons, being only the second coach in the program's history. While leading the Lady Flames, the program achieved three of its most successful seasons in program history.
In his final season leading the Lady Flames, Johnson helped Liberty battle back from a tough early season schedule. The squad, which featured only one senior and no juniors, concluded the year with an 11-12 mark, winning 10 of its final 13 matches, including a six-match win streak.
The 2011 season served as a culminating year for Johnson's first recruiting class (2007-08), which was ranked No. 17 by the Tennis Recruiting Network among its Top 25 Mid-Major recruiting classes.
The Lady Flames wrapped up the 2011 season tying program marks for both wins in a season and in Big South Conference play. The 15-7 overall record was part of a 6-1 conference mark, which landed the team tied atop the conference's women's tennis standings, and led to the program's first-ever regular season championship. The team finished the year with the program's fourth trip to the Big South Tournament's semifinal round, three of which have been overseen by Johnson.
As part of the 2007-08 recruiting class, Jordan Jenkins completed her collegiate career in 2011 holding nearly all of the Liberty women's tennis records, including career wins in both singles (87) and doubles (78). She earned Big South all-conference recognition for both singles and doubles each year of her career, which all began after being named the 2008 Big South Women's Tennis Player and Freshman of the Year.
Hannah Fick was also part of that recruiting class, and earned Big South all-conference honors for singles in 2009, and doubles in 2009 and 2011, while teaming with Jenkins. She also finished her career with 73 total doubles victories, ranking second only to Jenkins.
Prior to rewriting the record books in 2011, Johnson had led both the 2008 and 2009 teams to then-Liberty program records for wins in a season in program history.
In Johnson's second year at the helm, he mixed talented newcomers and several veterans to push the team to an eight-win improvement, notching a 13-4 overall record and 4-1 mark in the Big South. For the turnaround, Johnson was tabbed as the 2008 Big South Women's Tennis Coach of the Year, becoming the first coach in Liberty tennis history to be named a conference coach of the year.
The very next year, Johnson's team reset the bar with a 15-7 overall record, while finishing second in the Big South Conference women's tennis standings for the second consecutive year, boasting a 6-1 mark.
In his very first season as head coach, Johnson saw Jonita Randolph named the 2007 Big South Women's Tennis Player of the Year, the first Liberty tennis player, male or female to be selected as a conference player of the year.
Johnson finished his career at Liberty with 31 singles victories, while posting a 34-32 mark playing at #1 and #2 doubles. Johnson finished both his junior and senior seasons with 10 singles victories, while completing his final year of competition with a 12-10 doubles record.
Johnson helped the Flames post a combined 32-38 record during his four-year career. Liberty was competing in just its third season at the NCAA Division I level during Johnson's freshman year (1991), and he was a member of Liberty's first-ever tennis team to compete in the Big South Conference in 1992. During his playing career, Johnson was honored as a member of the Big South Presidential Honor Roll.
Johnson, a native of Hickory, N.C., his wife Audrey and the couple's two children, Landon and Ashleigh, live in Forest, Va.