McNeil High graduate and former Lady Eagles basketball player Deidra Johnson has been hired as associate head coach for the Indiana State women’s basketball program.
The Terre Haute university’s new head women's coach, Chad Killinger, announced the hiring to the Sycamore basketball staff.
"I couldn't be happier to have Deidra join our staff as the associate head coach," Killinger said. "I know how hard she works and what a great mind she has for the game after previously working with her. She's a tremendous recruiter, but her ability to build relationships that will strengthen our program and help develop young women on and off the court are going to be incredible assets to our program. She is as good as you are going to find when it comes to skill development and I look forward to our student-athletes and the community of Terre Haute getting to know her."
Johnson joins the Indiana State coaching staff after spending a season at Texas State in San Marcos, Texas as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator. Prior to her time at Texas State, she spent four seasons with the Arkansas State Red Wolves.
"The gratitude and excitement that I have for this amazing opportunity is indescribable," Johnson said. "I'm very appreciative to Coach Killinger for bringing me on board to not only aid in the efforts of rebuilding the Indiana State women's basketball program back into champions on the court, but also in the classroom and the Terre Haute community. Coach K is a great coach, but an even better person and it will be an honor to serve under his leadership."
Johnson served as an assistant coach for Arkansas State from 2015-19, helping lead the Red Wolves to 61 victories and a Women's NIT appearance. Among the highlights in her time in Jonesboro, Arkansas State went 27-6 overall and 19-1 in the Sun Belt Conference to win the regular-season title and earn a bid to the WNIT in 2015-16. The Red Wolves set school records for wins (27), longest winning streak (18) consecutive home wins (25) and field-goal percentage (.450) during that season.
During her time in Jonesboro, Johnson helped mold Khadija Brown-Haywood into a first-team all-conference selection as a senior, developed All-Sun Belt Conference selection Akasha Westbrook, turn Brittney Gill into a third-team all-conference pick and worked with Aundrea Gamble, who was the first player in Sun Belt Conference history to win three-straight Student-Athlete of the Year awards.
Prior to Arkansas State, Johnson spent a season at Blinn College, where she contributed to the Buccaneers compiling a 20-11 record and helped four players earned Division I scholarships while four additional athletes went on to compete at Division II schools.
Johnson also spent time at Texas-San Antonio, where she helped Whitney Wright set the school's all-time blocked shots record after spending two seasons at Marshall where she helped the Thundering Herd lead Conference USA with a 32% from behind the three-point arc in addition to averaging 10.5 steals a game. She mentored second-team all-conference selection, Tynikki Crook throughout her time in West Virginia as well.
Johnson began her coaching career at Coffeyville Community College in Kansas as an assistant coach before moving on to Chipola College in Mariana, FL, where she helped the team to a third-place finish in the 2009 NJCAA National Basketball Championship. While at Chipola, Johnson coached 10 players who earned Division I scholarships, three of which went on to play professionally.
Off the court, Johnson worked for the Boys and Girls Club of El Dorado (Ark.) and served as the Teen-Center Director for two years while also working as the SMART Girls Program Director in her final year with the organization.
Beginning her collegiate career at the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith, Johnson was named to the All-NJCAA BI-State East First Team and the All-NJCAA Regional VI First Team. She went on to conclude her college career at Oklahoma State, where she was named to the Big XII Commissioner's Honor Roll and the National Deans List while also serving as a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
Indiana State fired Vicky Hall after the Sycamores compiled a record of 21-59 in three seasons. The Sycamores were 5-15 overall and 2-12 in the Missouri Valley Conference this past season.
Indiana State has about 12,000 students.