Joel Johnson helped lead Minnesota to a national title for the third time in his tenure with the Golden Gophers in 2012 after also coaching the Minnesota program during the 2000 and 2004 championship seasons. Johnson has completed seven seasons on the Minnesota coaching staff.
In 2011-12, the awards and accolades for the Minnesota blue line piled up. Johnson coached the Gopher defense that led the nation in scoring defense, allowing just 1.32 goals per game. Johnson led the defensive corps that gave up just five goals in seven postseason games. Three Gopher defensemen ranked among the top 25 nationally in scoring by defensemen in Megan Bozek, Anne Schleper and Rachel Ramsey. Bozek and Schleper each earned first-team All-WCHA accolades in 2012, while Ramsey was named to the WCHA All-Rookie team. Bozek earned first-team All-America acclaim under Johnson's leadership.
In 2010-11, Joel Johnson returned to the University of Minnesota women's hockey staff after a six-year hiatus to coach the Gopher defensemen. Johnson, who coached the Bethel University men's hockey team from 2004-10, returned to the Gopher staff where he was an assistant coach from 1999-2004. Along with coaching the blue liners, Johnson will also assist with special teams, game analysis and recruiting.
Prior to his second stint with the Gophers, Johnson spent six seasons at Bethel, including three as the men's hockey head coach. In his first year as the head coach, Johnson guided the Royals to a 16-7-2 overall record and an 11-4-1 mark in the MIAC. At the helm of Royal hockey, he posted a career record of 37-35-3 and 26-21-1 within conference play. As an assistant coach, Johnson helped the team to its first-ever MIAC regular season championship in 2006-07. The Royals followed with their first-ever playoff title and advanced to the NCAA national tournament in 2007. While Johnson was associated with Bethel, the team was a playoff contender each year. Along with his men's hockey responsibilities, he was also the men's and women's golf coach and prior to that, and was the soccer coach where he earned the MIAC Coach of the Year Honors.
Johnson was an assistant women's coach at Minnesota for five years as he aided the Gophers to two national championships in 2000 and 2004. Like his current role, Johnson primarily worked with the Gopher defensemen. Coaching some of the nation's best blue liners, Courtney Kennedy and Ronda Curtin were top-three Patty Kazmaier finalists and first-team All-Americans. Both Kennedy, Curtin and Winny Brodt were all named the WCHA Defensive Players of the Year during his tenure. Also in Johnson's span with the Gophers, Minnesota made three trips to the NCAA Frozen Four in 2002, 2003 and 2004 and won WCHA titles in 2002 and 2004.
A 1996 graduate of Bethel with a degree in physical education and minors in health education and coaching, he was a three-sport athlete for the Royals, earning four letters in soccer, hockey and baseball. Johnson served as a captain for all three teams and won all-conference and all-region awards during his career along with team most valuable and most inspirational players awards. As a soccer player, he finished his career ranked second in assists (21) and fifth in points (43). He also ranked among the school's top 10 in career hits, runs and RBI in baseball, batting .350 for his career. Johnson scored 40 points from the blueline during his first two years of hockey before a back injury curtailed his career. Following his playing days for the Royals, Johnson started his coaching career and coached soccer and hockey at his alma mater. He also was an assistant coach for Park/Woodbury High School during the 1996-97 season and coached both soccer and baseball at New Life Academy for two years.Johnson, his wife Shannon, daughter, Megan, and son, Jacob, reside in White Bear Lake, Minn.
Johnson At A Glance
B.A. Physical & Health Education, Bethel, 1996
M.A. Organizational Leadership, Bethel, 2007
Returned for his second stint as a Minnesota assistant in 2010
Spent six years with the Bethel men's hockey team, including three seasons as the head coach
Helped the Royals to their first-ever MIAC regular season championship
Coached Patty Kazmaier finalists, Courtney Kennedy in 2000-01 and Ronda Curtin in 2001-02, the only defenders in the top three for that award
Minnesota defense led the WCHA in defense scoring with 34 goals in 2001-02
Coached three consecutive WCHA Defensive Players of the Year, Winny Brodt in 1999-2000, Courtney Kennedy in 2000-01 and Ronda Curtin in 2001-02
Gopher defense allowed the fewest goals in the nation in 2011-12
Finished baseball career at Bethel among top 10 in hits, runs and RBI
Finished four-year soccer career second in career assists and fifth in points at Bethel
Bethel team captain in soccer, hockey and baseball
Honors and Awards
Baseball team MVP and most inspirational, 1996
Soccer, All-Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Confernce, 1994 and 1995