Today is a busy day around campus for Stanford Sports. Football is hosting their Junior Day, with more than 50 top recruits from the West Coast and around the country being given involved tours and insight into the campus and program. Baseball is engaged in the rubber match of an exciting home series at Sunken Diamond with longtime rivals, USC. Softball is fighting against Hofstra for a slot in the College World Series.
But inside the halls of the Arrillaga Family Sports Center, you will see one of the biggest news stories of the weekend transpiring. The first candidate for the Stanford Men's Basketball head coaching position is meeting and interviewing with Athletic Department and University officials and administrators. Trent Johnson, the five-year head coach at Nevada and one-time Stanford assistant coach flew into town last night. It is not yet known if these sessions might carry through to tomorrow. It is my belief that Johnson is currently the front-runner for the job, though these interviews obviously have great bearing on that status.
The 47-year old head coach of the Wolf Pack made waves this March with Nevada's inspiring run in the NCAA Tournament. After winning 20 games in the regular season and three more in a successful WAC Tournament championship run, Johnson guided his underdog Pack to an upset of seventh seed Michigan State in the opening round of the NCAAs. It was the first ever win in the school's history in the postseason tournament, but it would not be the biggest. In the second round two days later, Nevada thoroughly destroyed #2 seed Gonzaga by a 91-72 score. The final score truly was representative of how lopsided the contest was, with Nevada leading by 15-20 points for a good deal of the first half. In the Sweet Sixteen, Johnson's squad nearly upset #3 seed Georgia Tech in a tight late-game affair. That Yellow Jacket team went on to play in the National Championship game.
In his five years in Reno as the head coach, Trent Johnson has recorded a 79-74 mark. Cardinal fans of course remember his three years as an assistant on The Farm that immediately preceded his time at Nevada. While an assistant on Mike Montgomery's bench, Stanford reached new heights in the program's success each of his three years. In the 1996-97 season, the Cardinal pushed for the first time to the Sweet Sixteen, and a year later they made their fabled run to the Final Four. While the 1998-99 season ended in an upset loss in the second round of the NCAAs, the Card broke yet more new ground with their first-ever Pac-10 championship.
In all of his stops, Johnson has been a tremendously successful recruiter. While at Stanford he was an instrumental recruiter for arguably the top classes in the program's history. He played a lead role in hauling in the 1997 class of Jason Collins, Jarron Collins and Mike McDonald. In his last year he helped drive the recruitment of the fabled fab five class of Casey Jacobsen, Curtis Borchardt, Justin Davis, Julius Barnes and Joe Kirchofer. Ironically, he helped recruit and sign Nick Robinson in the 1998 class between those two crops. If hired, Johnson would have a chance seven years later to coach the versatile wing/forward known to teammates and coaches as "Pops."
Johnson is a graduate of Boise State, where he played from 1974-78. His first two years he played under a young assistant coach named Mike Montgomery.
|Trent Johnson College Coaching Career|
|1999-2004||Nevada||Head Coach||NIT, NCAA|
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