On March 9, 2010, Urbana University Director of Athletics Doug Young announced Dave Johnson as the new head coach for the Blue Knights' swim teams. Immediately, Johnson began sharing his wealth of knowledge and experience with a young program that had just completed its second season of NCAA Division II competition.
"Dave has been a professional in the sport of swimming in our area for quite a long period of time," explains Young. "His knowledge and experience in recruiting the areas that we value most will be a tremendous asset to our program and the entire University."
In his first season at the helm, Johnson guided the Blue Knights to unprecedented success. After posting a combined 6-61 mark in the program's first 2 seasons of existence, the men's and women's teams combined to go 18-28 in 2010-11. The men's team experienced the first winning season in school history (12-10) while being named collegeswimming.com's most improved team in NCAA Division II. The men capped their season by capturing 6th place of 13 teams at the Appalachian Conference Championships, just one year after finishing next to last at the season-ending event. A pair of Blue Knight swimmers also made school history at the Conference Championships by becoming the school's first conference champions in their events (50 and 100 freestyle) and qualifying for the NCAA's B-cut.
Prior to coming to Urbana, Johnson built the swimming program at the Springfield Family YMCA in 1977. Over the next 29 years, the Springfield-native coached the program to national prominence. More than 150 of his swimmers continued their careers at the collegiate level, and a few even reached All-American status.
Johnson also has more than a decade of experience coaching at the high school level. He coached the Springfield North High School squad from 1997-2006. Most recently, he served as the head coach at Springfield High School. In 2002, Johnson was inducted into the Springfield City Schools Hall of Fame for his lifetime of dedication to the community and the sport of swimming.
Prior to coaching, Johnson was an accomplished swimmer at Springfield North High School and later at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. Johnson was a four-time All-Ohio selection in high school, and he served as team captain and points leader as a senior at Miami. In three straight seasons, he was the Mid-American Conference champion in the 100-yard breaststroke, as well as a member of the MAC champion 400-yard medley relay team.