A new era

The LSU men's basketball program has a new leader in former Stanford head coach Trent Johnson and on Thursday afternoon he was formally introduced as the 20th head men's basketball coach at LSU.

“I don’t think any of you know have any idea how honored and excited I am about being here. But before I get into it and without further due….Go Tigers! Go Tigers,” Johnson said.


Johnson spent four years at Stanford where he compiled a record of 80-48 that included three NCAA appearances and a trip to the Sweet 16 this past season.


He is the only coach in Stanford history to lead the Cardinal to the postseason in each of his first four seasons and he leaves behind a program that made the NCAA Tournament 16 times with three of those occasions under his watch.


Prior to his tenure at Stanford, Johnson spent five years at Nevada where he took the Wolfpack to the Sweet 16 in his final year.


Johnson said that the last week had been a whirlwind for him between trying to decide whether he wanted to stay at a place he loved or move on to the next chapter in his life.


There were some who questioned why he would want to leave Stanford.


After all, LSU is a football school in the minds of most but Johnson had a simple answer to the question of why.


“When this opportunity arose the first question I was asked was why,” Johnson explained. “There is a real simple answer for me. The opportunity to recruit the best student-athletes across the country and have the opportunity to compete for championships year in and year out. As Coach (Les) Miles showed me the national championship trophy…….That is the mission. That is the goal.”


Before Johnson can begin to pursue that goal he must assemble a coaching staff.


Johnson said he has not made any decisions about anyone’s future and that includes Butch Pierre, who served as interim head coach for the remained of the season after John Brady was fired on February 8.

"I know he's (Pierre) from the state and this is his institution," Johnson said. "So, I know as far as loyalty he can be helpful to me."

One name who was mentioned was former Louisiana Tech coach Keith Richard, who Johnson coached against while he was at Nevada and who was ousted from his job at Louisiana Tech a little more than a year ago.

Johnson may face an uphill battle in reaching his mission in the immediate future because Fox Sports is reporting that Anthony Randolph has signed with an agent which would close the door on any possible return to LSU.


Two other Tigers are reportedly considering testing the NBA waters in Marcus Thornton and Chris Johnson which if they opted to leave early the new headman would be without his top three returning scorers.


Even if Johnson does have to start his tenure at LSU without the nucleus that led the Tigers last season his new boss is confident that he will still come out on top.


"He represents all the values I was looking for - a man who has an outstanding reputation, a family man, a guy that can go into the home and recruit, a man who will be a great role model for these kids and make sure they do things the right way both on the court, off the court and in the classroom," said Athletic Director Joe Alleva, who interviewed seven candidates before deciding on Johnson. "He has a great background and great experience."


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