Coaching alma mater Godby motivates Johnson

By Justin Dillard
Outlook Writer

Chelsea Johnson only has to look at her surroundings for inspiration in her role as head coach of Godby’s girl’s basketball team. Ten years ago, she had a stellar career in the same gymnasium where she now coaches the Cougars.

Johnson took over the program this year, after spending the last two seasons as an assistant.

“To come back and give back; that keeps me motivated,” said Johnson, who played four years at Livingstone College before returning to her alma mater.

Johnson inherits a squad that has three returning starters: Dorian Solomon, Darrion Denmark and Aja Dawson. So far through the early portion of the season, the trio of starters has been the sparkplug for the Cougars.

Johnson attributes that to their friendship that goes back to their days as junior varsity players.

“They bring a lot to the team,” Johnson said. “Off the court, they have an amazing bond. They have been friends forever and that translates over into the game and their chemistry is crazy.

“They bring a strong force to the offense and defense.”

Denmark and Solomon have been instrumental in the Cougars’ quick adjustment to Johnson’s philosophy. It was slow going at first, though, Johnson said.

“They bought in early,” Johnson said. “You see now where they are pushing each other; they encourage each other. If somebody is down they pick each other up.”

Johnson is anticipating a winning season, but she isn’t expecting that to come with just teaching the x’s and o’s of the game. But success takes a little more than that, she said.

“A lot of times coaches get caught up in the wins and losses,” Johnson said, “but we have to coach these ladies off the court on being ladies and if those things happen the wins will come.”