The second-winningest coach in program history, Steve Johnson is in his sixth season at Utah State, after being named the ninth head coach of the Aggie softball program on June 26, 2013.
Under Johnson, the Aggies finished the 2017 season with a 33-18 overall record, while going 14-9 in Mountain West play to finish tied for third in league standings. The 33 wins marked the most by the Utah State program since 1993, when the team posted a 39-17 record. Additionally, the 14 conference wins were the most since 1996, when the team went 17-15 in Big West action. USU also made its first postseason appearance in 24 years in 2017, playing in the inaugural National Invitational Softball Championship.
Three Utah State softball players earned all-Mountain West accolades in 2017, as pitcher Kellie White earned first-team honors, and second baseman Victoria Saucedo and outfielder Riley Plogger were named to the second team. The team shattered the program’s stolen base record with 92 on the year, while several individual players earned a spot on the career record lists.
On the year, Utah State batted .309, just one point shy of tying the school record. The Aggies tallied 431 hits and scored 265 runs during the season. Off the field, nine Utah State players earned academic all-Mountain West honors, while two were named Mountain West Scholar Athletes.
Johnson led the 2016 team to the program’s best record in 20 years. The Aggies finished the year with a 26-25 record, the best team record since 1996, while going 12-12 in Mountain West action. The Aggies’ 12 Mountain West wins are the most conference victories since the 1996 team posted a 17-15 Big West record. Utah State finished tied for third in the conference, their highest finish since joining the Mountain West and the highest overall conference finish since 1992. This is also the first time since the 1996 campaign that Utah State finished with a record above .500.
Over the course of the 2016 season, the Aggies set new program records in runs scored (281), doubles (86), home runs (50), total bases (701), RBIs (259), slugging percentage (.492) and on base percentage (.383). On an individual level, three players set or tied single-season records. Outfielder Sarah Chow hit a program-best eight triples on the year, while outfielder Jazmin Clarke shattered the stolen base record with 25 during the season. Third baseman Victoria Saucedo tied the home run record, hitting 12 during her junior season.
Three Aggies earned all-Mountain West honors in 2016, as Clarke, Saucedo and outfielder/pitcher Alleyah Armendariz were each named to the second team. Additionally, 12 members of the USU roster earned academic all-conference honors and five were named Mountain West Scholar-Athletes.
In 2015, Johnson coached the Aggies to a 19-36 record, going 11-13 in Mountain West action. The Aggies ended the season on a three-game winning streak in a sweep over Boise State.
Overall, the Aggies hit .254 on the year, ending the season with 439 hits and 252 runs scored. The Aggies also saw an increase in doubles from 58 in 2014 to 81.
As a team, Utah State set two then-records from the plate in 2015, with 229 RBIs and 40 home runs. Individually, outfielder Hailey Froton bested her own single-season RBI record (48), while claiming the career record (132), while Armendariz tied the single-season home run record, hitting 12.
Four Utah State players earned all-Mountain West honors following the 2015 campaign, as Froton and pitcher Noelle Johnson earned first-team honors and Armendariz and Chow were named to the second team. The four all-conference recognitions are the most for a Utah State team since 1993, when four players earned all-Big West honors. Off the field, five student-athletes received academic all-Mountain West honors, while three were named Mountain West Scholar-Athletes.
In his first season at Utah State in 2014, Johnson led the team to an 18-37 record. Included in that record was a 6-18 conference record in Utah State’s first year in the Mountain West.
In his USU debut, Johnson coached Saucedo to Mountain West Freshman of the Year and first-team all-conference honors, while helping Noelle Johnson to break the USU single-season strikeout record (218). Johnson also coached Froton to the then-single-season RBI record with 41.
The Aggies ended the 2014 season with a .251 batting average, improving from .237 the previous year. USU hit 32 home runs while advancing to 537 total bases.
Along with Saucedo’s all-conference honors, nine players earned academic all-Mountain West accolades, while four were named Mountain West Scholar Athletes.
Johnson took over the Utah State program after five years at Auburn as the assistant head coach. Working primarily with the Tigers’ hitters, slappers and infielders, Johnson helped Auburn advance to three Southeastern Conference Tournaments and NCAA Regional appearances in four years. In 2011, Auburn was ranked in both the ESPN and NFCA top 25 polls, spending 12 weeks in the NFCA poll and reaching a high of No. 21. Auburn also registered its first-ever series win over a top-five team, taking two-of-three games from No. 4 Georgia. The 2012 Tigers hit the most home runs (46) since the 2005 squad hit a program-record 68.
At Auburn, Johnson coached five players who earned all-SEC honors, and four players who earned SEC all-freshman team accolades, including tying a school record with two in 2013. In 2011, Auburn set program top-five marks in batting average (.279), runs scored (272), RBI (235), doubles (97), triples (8) and walks (160).
Johnson made his head coaching debut at the Division II level, spending the 2003-08 seasons at UNC Pembroke, where he compiled a 153-164 record.
Johnson led the Braves to a 46-14 overall record in 2008 and the Peach Belt Conference Championship, going 17-1 in league action. He also led UNC Pembroke to the program’s first ever NCAA Regional appearance in 2008, earning NFCA South Atlantic Region Coaching Staff of the Year honors in 2008. That season, the Braves set or tied 33 school records, including most wins in a season (46) and most conference wins (17). UNCP players earned a total of six all-region awards and three All-America honors under Johnson’s tutelage in 2008.
While at Pembroke, Johnson’s teams broke 73 school records and had 39 players earn Peach Belt Academic Honor Roll accolades.
Prior to his stint at UNC Pembroke, Johnson served as an assistant coach at South Dakota State from 2000-02.
Johnson began his professional coaching career as the head coach at Kennedy High School in Cedar Rapids, Iowa from 1997-2000.
Johnson earned his undergraduate degree in U.S. history and secondary education from Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa, graduating cum laude in 1997. Johnson earned a graduate degree in athletic administration from South Dakota State University in 2002.
A native of West Des Moines, Iowa, Johnson is married to the former Heather Wesemen and the couple has one daughter, Collette (2).