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July 15- Aug. 25, 2005
Vol. 35, Issue 13
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New nursing program

Karen Johns named head softball coach
An island reborn
Jefferson scholar program turns 25
Placemaking seminar helps foster vital communities
Artists, audiences collaborate in 'The Paper Sculpture Show'
Now funded: U.S.-Iceland exchange program


Karen Johns named head softball coach

Kate Johns
USA Softball
Kate Johns

Staff report

Karen Johns is the new head coach of the Cavaliers’ softball program. Johns comes to Virginia after having served as the head coach of the University of Florida softball team from 2001 to 2005.

“I am very happy to have a new leader for our softball program the caliber of Coach Johns,” said athletics director Craig Littlepage in announcing her hire on June 29. “From the standpoint of both her playing and coaching careers, she has competed successfully at the highest levels. Coach Johns also is dedicated to the academic welfare of her players which is extremely important at the University of Virginia.”

In five seasons at the helm of the University of Florida softball program, Johns posted a 192-131 record for a .594 winning percentage. She also led the Gators to four NCAA regional appearances (2001, 2003, 2004 and 2005). Florida finished the 2005 season with a 41-23 record and hosted a four-team NCAA regional.

“My family and I are very excited about becoming part of the Virginia athletics family,” Johns said. “Virginia offers the best of both worlds academically and athletically. It’s an honor to be selected to lead the Virginia softball team, and I look forward to developing a very strong program both on the field and in the classroom.”

Prior to her head coaching stint at Florida, Johns served as an assistant coach at Alabama from 1996 to 2000 and was the Crimson Tide’s top assistant in 2000. She helped Alabama finish sixth at the 2000 Women’s College World Series.

Johns was a two-time first-team All-American catcher at South Carolina and graduated in 1989 with a degree in health and fitness. She also earned a master’s degree in education in 1991. Johns began her collegiate coaching career at South Carolina in 1989 as a student assistant coach and served as a graduate assistant coach in 1990 while pursuing her graduate degree. Upon earning her master’s, she spent two years as an athletic academic counselor at South Carolina before returning to the coaching ranks as an assistant in 1994.

In addition to capturing All-America honors twice at South Carolina (1987 and 1988), Johns was a three-time first-team All-South Region selection. Following her collegiate career, Johns took her talents to the international level. As a member of the U.S. National Team, she won gold medals at the 1990 and 1994 ISF World Championships, the 1994 South Pacific Classic and the 1995 Pan American Games. In 1989 and 1990, she also helped lead her team to gold medals at the U.S. Olympic Festival.

Johns is currently an assistant coach for USA Softball. She helped coach the United States Elite Team in the Canada Cup, July 2-11. She also will serve as an assistant coach for the USA Women’s National Team, which is competing in the first-ever World Cup July 14 -18 in Oklahoma.

Johns and her husband Bobby have a daughter, Kaci Michelle.

Johns, U.Va.’s seventh head softball coach, replaces Cheryl Sprangel, who resigned in May after eight seasons as U.Va.’s head coach. Virginia finished the 2005 season with a 31-32 overall record and a 9-8 mark in the Atlantic Coast Conference.



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