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USU Athletics Fills Two Head Coach Positions

Friday, Jun. 28, 2013

Nadalie Walsh, USU's head gymnastics coach

Nadalie Walsh has been named USU's head gymnastics coach. (photo courtesy Ball State Athletics)

Steve Johnson, USU's head softball coach

Steve Johnson has been named head softball coach at Utah State University.

Two head coach positions have recently been filled by the Utah State University Athletics program. The announcements were made by USU Vice President and Director of Athletics Scott Barnes. Nadalie Walsh was named June 28 as the head gymnastics coach, only the third coach in the program’s history. Earlier in the week, Steve Johnson was named as the head softball coach.

Below are the two announcement released by USU Athletics.

Nadalie Walsh Named Utah State Gymnastics Head Coach

Utah State [University]Vice President and Director of Athletics Scott Barnes announced Friday [June 28, 2013] that Nadalie Walsh has been named USU head gymnastics coach.

Walsh comes to USU after six seasons as head coach at Ball State and becomes the third head coach in USU’s program history. She replaces Jeff Richards, whose contract was not renewed in April.

“We are thrilled to have Nadalie be our head gymnastics coach,” Barnes said. “She is a well-respected head coach and has had success everywhere she has been throughout her coaching career. Her outstanding leadership style and ability to recruit high-quality student-athletes will be invaluable to our program. It is evident that Nadalie cares a great deal for the student-athlete’s success in competition, in the classroom and in life. We are happy to have her be a part of the Aggie family. I would also like to thank Associate Athletics Director for Student Services Dr. Brian Evans and the screening committee for all of their efforts.”

While at Ball State, Walsh coached six gymnasts to the NCAA Regional Championships for a total of 10 appearances, as well as four Mid-American Conference individual event champions, including two on bars, one on vault and one on floor. She also coached one MAC Senior Athlete of the Year, as part of eight all-MAC gymnasts during her tenure at Ball State.

“My family and I are very excited about being given the opportunity to become Aggies,” Walsh said. “Utah State’s gymnastics program has an incredibly rich history of success, and I cannot wait to get started in giving my all to the university and the student-athletes. I am extremely impressed with all Utah State has to offer, as well as with all the wonderful people I will get to work with in the department. By partnering with the dedicated administration and passionate student-athletes, we can again build a successful Utah State gymnastics program.”

This season, Walsh guided BSU to its highest team Regional Qualifying Score (RQS) in school history. Her teams are also in the BSU history books for breaking the school record for team vaulting score (49.000), as well as tying the individual school record for top score on floor with a 9.95 by Denasiha Christian in 2013, as part of coaching nine individuals into the top five marks in school history.

Off the floor of competition, Walsh's teams earned 12 academic all-MAC accolades. Ball State had a perfect Academic Progress Rate (APR) in 2009 as well as a near 1.000 APR score in the other five years of her tenure.

Prior to Ball State, Walsh spent four years (2003-07) as the head coach at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, her alma mater. In 2007 her final season at UW-Oshkosh, Walsh guided the Titans to the National Collegiate Gymnastics Association (NCGA) National Championship. The NCGA is the governing body for college gymnastics for NCAA Division III schools. It was UW-Oshkosh’s second national title in the program’s history and the first since 1989. The title win by the Walsh-led Titans in 2007 halted a six-year reign by UW-La Crosse.

In four seasons at UW-Oshkosh, Walsh mentored the program from not qualifying for nationals in her first season, to finishing sixth at the NCGA National Championships in 2004, to third-place in 2005 before winning the 2007 national title. Walsh was named the NCGA Coach of the Year in 2006 and also earned Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletics Conference Coach of the Year accolades in 2005 and 2006, as well as Division III West Regional Coach of the Year in 2005, 2006 and 2007.  During her UW-Oshkosh tenure, Walsh coached 13 All-Americans, including nine in 2007. She also mentored five UW-Oshkosh team school records, as well as numerous individual marks. 

Before becoming UW-Oshkosh's head coach, Walsh was an assistant coach for the Titans from 2001-03. She coached the 2000 Division III national floor champion as well as the national runner-up in 2001, in helping the Titans to a second-place finish at national in 2001.

A native of Kewaskum, Wis., Walsh earned her bachelor’s degree in exercise science and fitness from UW-Oshkosh in 2001. She and her husband, Victor, have three children Aiden (11), Ireland (9) and Valient (8).

Fans can follow the USU Gymnastics' Twitter and Facebook pages. Aggie fans can also follow the Utah State athletic program on Twitter or on Facebook at Utah State University Athletics.

Contact: Zach Fisher, (435) 797-2066

Steve Johnson Named Utah State Head Softball Coach

Steve Johnson has been named head softball coach at Utah State University; it was announced Wednesday [June 26, 2013] by Vice President and Director of Athletics Scott Barnes. Johnson replaces Carissa Kalaba who resigned as head coach in May.

Johnson becomes the ninth softball coach in Utah State history and will be the first to coach in the Mountain West as the Aggies join the conference on July 1.

“We are excited to begin our softball program’s transition into the Mountain West with the new leadership of Steve Johnson,” Barnes said. “Steve brings excellent experience in successfully rebuilding a program as a head coach and being part of a BCS program as an assistant. Steve is a focused, tireless worker and will bring great energy and passion to our softball program. I want to thank Executive Associate Athletics Director Jana Doggett and the hiring committee for their efforts.”

Johnson comes to Utah State after five years at Auburn as an assistant coach. This season, he helped the Tigers to a 30-23 record in the always-tough Southeastern Conference.

“I would like to thank Athletics Director Scott Barnes and Executive Associate Athletics Director Jana Doggett for this fantastic opportunity to be the head softball coach at Utah State University,” Johnson said. “I would also like to thank Mike Williams and Kara Fisher for their work on the selection committee. I am looking forward to working for and recruiting to such an outstanding academic institution as Utah State.

“Utah State athletics has established itself as a winner across the board, and I look forward to building the softball program into one that competes nationally and in the Mountain West. We will look to build on the tradition of the past, recruiting quality student-athletes that will continue to represent Utah State with pride.”

Working primarily with the Tigers’ hitters, slappers and infielders, Johnson has helped Auburn advance to three SEC 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/fifth), runs scored (272/fifth), RBI (235/fifth), doubles (97/second), triples (8/third) and walks (160/second).

A native of West Des Moines, Iowa, Johnson compiled a 153-164 record in six years as head coach at UNC-Pembroke, prior to coming to Auburn in 2009. He led the Braves to a 46-14 overall record in 2008 and the Peach Belt Conference Championship, going 17-1 in league action. Johnson also led the Braves to the program’s first ever NCAA Regional appearance in 2008, earning NFCA South Atlantic Region Coaching Staff of the Year honors in 2008.

During the 2008 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.

Johnson earned his undergraduate degree in U.S. history and secondary education from Wartburg College, graduating cum laude in 1997. Johnson earned a graduate degree in athletic administration from South Dakota State University in 2002.

He is married to the former Heather Jeanette Wesemen.

He began his professional coaching career as the head coach at Kennedy High School in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, from 1997-2000.

Johnson then served as an assistant coach at South Dakota State from 2000-02 before becoming the head coach at UNC-Pembroke.

“My wife Heather and I are excited about joining the Aggie family as we begin a new journey across the country,” Johnson said.

Fans can keep up with all of the Aggies softball action online. Follow Utah State athletics, including softball, on Twitter  as well as on Facebook.

Additional Aggie sports news is available at the Athletics website.

Contact: Kara Fisher, (435) 797-1361

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