June 29, 2020
Former LSU, WNBA star Temeka Johnson named head coach of New Orleans high school team
Temeka Johnson, who retired from playing professional basketball in 2019, takes the next step in her young coaching career.
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Former LSU standout and WNBA champion Temeka Johnson has been hired as the new head coach of John Curtis Christian school’s girls basketball team in New Orleans, the school announced June 25. According to the release, Johnson will begin her duties immediately, which include a teaching role and overseeing the entire girls basketball program, from the fifth grade to 12th grade.
Born and raised in Louisiana, Johnson was a four-time All-State player at Bonnabel High School and ended her high school career with nearly 3,000 points and over 1,000 assists before going on to play at LSU from 2001 to 2005.
Alongside Seimone Augustus, she led the Tigers to their first two Final Fours, became the school’s all-time career assists leader and earned the Nancy Lieberman Award as the top collegiate point guard in the U.S. in 2004.
Following her stellar college career, the Washington Mystics selected Johnson with the sixth overall pick in the 2005 WNBA Draft and she was named Rookie of the Year after averaging 9.3 points per game and finishing with the second-most assists in the league. The 5’3 point guard, who many once thought was too small to succeed in the league, went on to win a WNBA championship with the Phoenix Mercury in 2009. She is currently ranked No. 11 among the WNBA’s all-time assist leaders with 1,382 dishes.
After 11 seasons in the WNBA, Johnson continued to play overseas and ultimately announced her retirement in May 2019 after she ruptured her Achilles playing in Spain.
One of the brightest talents to ever come out of Louisiana, Johnson returned to her hometown after her playing days ended to begin coaching the McKinley High School girls basketball team, a perennial contender. In her first season at McKinley, the team finished with a 19-11 overall record and advanced to the semifinals of the Division I playoffs.
At John Curtis, Johnson will be replacing fellow former WNBA champion Barbara Farris, who has accepted an assistant coaching position at Stetson University. Under Farris, the John Curtis girls basketball team won five state championships — their fourth straight win came in March.
“The goal is to continue the legacy,” Johnson told The New Orleans Advocate Times-Picayune. “That’s always the goal. I want to just bring my knowledge and get on the same page with the girls and get an understanding of who they are. I’ll get an understanding of what their strengths and weaknesses are and put them in the best position to make us successful.”