Avery Johnson was introduced as Alabama’s 20th head men’s basketball coach on April 7, 2015. Johnson, who led the San Antonio Spurs to the 1999 NBA title as a player and was named the 2006 NBA Coach of the Year, came to the Capstone after a successful career in the NBA.
Johnson has turned many heads in the college basketball world during his three seasons at Alabama, as it didn’t take long for fans and student-athletes alike to heed his motto “Buckle Up” in reference to the excitement he expects his tenure will offer. Johnson owned an NBA career coaching record of 254-186 (.577) after spending four seasons with the Dallas Mavericks (2004-08) and two-plus seasons with the Brooklyn Nets (2010-13). Johnson, along with his wife Cassandra, are both very involved in the Tuscaloosa community. Johnson, who was ninth in a family of 10 kids, was raised in the New Orleans’ Lafitte Housing project.
As a result of his success, Johnson is known for his impactful and motivational speeches, bringing as much passion into his speaking engagements as he does into the game of basketball. Johnson’s passion extends to the ministry and mentoring of today’s youth. Through his involvement with the nonprofit organization “Just Say Yes”, Coach Johnson’s mission is to make a positive impact on middle and high school youth.
In October 2005, he was co-host of the Katrina Rescue Ride to benefit the Salvation Army and the Red Cross’ relief efforts of the victims of Hurricane Katrina. In 2008, Johnson wrote his second book, “Aspire Higher: Winning On and Off the Court with Determination, Discipline and Decisions” (Collins), an essential game plan for anyone looking to reach their goals.