In nine seasons as head coach of the Badgers, Mark Johnson has established the University of Wisconsin's rank among the elite in all of college women's hockey. Under his direction, Wisconsin has compiled four NCAA titles, four Western Collegiate Hockey Association playoff titles and four WCHA regular season crowns.
With a career record of 280-46-26 (.832), Johnson is the winningest coach in Wisconsin women's hockey history.
This past season, Johnson led the Wisconsin women's hockey team to the NCAA Championship for the second consecutive year. After finishing in the top spot of the WCHA in the regular season, the Badgers fell to Minnesota in the championship game and were named NCAA Runner-Up in 2012.
Johnson led the Wisconsin women's hockey team to its fourth national title in 2010-11, returning to the helm after taking a one-year sabbatical to serve as head coach of the 2010 U.S. Olympic Women's Ice Hockey team. Johnson and Team USA earned silver at the Vancouver Olympic Games.
In his time at Wisconsin, Johnson has lifted UW to the top of the college women's hockey ranks. No stranger to the Wisconsin program as coach's son (his father is legendary coach Bob Johnson), player and assistant coach, Mark Johnson stepped into the role of head women's ice hockey coach at UW beginning with the 2002-03 season, becoming the third coach in program history. In nine seasons, Johnson and the Badgers have continued to shatter both school and national records, while being the first team ever to land in the NCAA championship game in four consecutive seasons (2006-2009) and winning the title four times (2006, 2007, 2009, 2011).
The Mark Johnson File
University of Wisconsin, 1994
B.S. in Kinesiology
Children, Doug, Chris, Patrick, Mikayla and Megan
NCAA National Championships
Coach of the Year
2011 AHCA Division I Coach of the Year
2009 AHCA Division I Coach of the Year
2007 AHCA Division I Coach of the Year
2006 AHCA Division I Coach of the Year
2012 WCHA Coach of the Year
2011 WCHA Coach of the Year
2009 WCHA Co-Coach of the Year
2007 WCHA Coach of the Year
2006 WCHA Coach of the Year
2003 WCHA Co-Coach of the Year
U.S. Olympic Women's Ice Hockey Team (2010)
Women's Under-22 Select Team (2007)
Women's World Championship (2007)
Women's Four Nations Cup (2006)
Wisconsin Women (2002-Present)
Madison Monsters (1995-96)
Verona Area High School Boys (1994-95)
Wisconsin Men (1996-2002)
2002 Men's World Championship, U.S.National Team
2000 Men's World Championship, U.S. National Team
Madison Memorial H.S. Boys (1993-94)
1977 WCHA Rookie of the Year
1977 NCAA champion
UW career goals leader (125)
United States National Team
1980 Olympic gold medalist
Competed in eight World Championships
National Hockey League
Pittsburgh Penguins (1980-82)
Minnesota North Stars (1982)
Hartford Whalers (1982-85)
St. Louis Blues (1985)
New Jersey Devils (1985-90)
By the Numbers
4 Patty Kazmaier Award Winners
4 NCAA Championships
6 WCHA Coach of the Year Awards
4 AHCA Division I Coach of the Year Awards
80 Academic All-WCHA Selections
In 2010-11, Johnson led the UW to an NCAA-record 37 wins (37-2-2). The Badgers claimed the WCHA regular season and playoff crowns, completing the hardware trifecta with the program's fourth national championship. Wisconsin topped Boston University, 4-1, in the title game at the 2011 NCAA Women's Frozen Four. Johnson has led the Badgers to an 16-3 record in the NCAA Tournament which includes nine Frozen Four wins, the second-most in the event's history.
The 2012 Western Collegiate Hockey Association Coach of the Year, Johnson concluded the 2011-12 season with a career record of 280-46-26 (.832) in nine years with the program and is the winningest coach in Wisconsin women's hockey history. Johnson is a six-time WCHA and four-time AHCA Coach of the Year award recipient.
Johnson led the UW to a 34-2-5 record during the 2008-09 season. The Badgers claimed the WCHA playoff championship en route to their third national championship in four years. Johnson celebrated his 200th career win Sunday, Feb, 1, 2008 against Ohio State. From 2005-06 to 2008-09, Wisconsin recorded 135 wins, more than any other team in the nation. The Badgers have reached 29 victories in each of Johnson's past five campaigns (2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011), something no other program has ever accomplished.
Four Badgers have won the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award under Johnson. Most recently, Brianna Decker was crowned the nation's top NCAA Division I women's ice hockey player in 2012. Sara Bauer became UW's first award recipient in 2006, Jessie Vetter received the award in 2009 and Meghan Duggan in 2011.
Named the 2003 WCHA Co-Coach of the Year and one of eight finalists for the AHCA Division I Coach of the Year award, Johnson guided Wisconsin to a 22-8-5 overall and 14-6-4 WCHA record in his first season with the team.
After going 25-6-3 in 2003-04, the Badgers made history in Johnson's third season, winning a then-program-record 28 games (28-9-1) and earning the program's first-ever NCAA tournament berth. The team climbed as high as second in the national rankings by defeating then-No. 2 Minnesota Duluth in the WCHA tournament semifinals and dramatically forcing overtime by scoring two goals in the final minute of regulation against No. 1 Minnesota in the championship game.
Johnson carried the momentum into the 2005-06 campaign as Wisconsin debuted at No. 1 in the USCHO.com preseason poll and went on to validate that distinction with a 36-4-1 record and a national championship. Meanwhile, Sara Bauer earned the program's first Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award which is annually given to the most outstanding player in NCAA Division I women's ice hockey each season. As an encore in 2006-07, UW successfully defended all three championships while posting a record of 36-1-4 and solidifying its status as one of the elite women's college hockey programs in the nation.
Johnson, the 2006 and 2007 WCHA and AHCA Coach of the Year, led the Badgers to back-to-back WCHA regular-season, playoff and NCAA championships while winning more games (72) in a two-year period (2005-07) than any other team in women's college hockey history. During the 2006-07 campaign, Johnson's team broke or tied 18 NCAA team and individual records including wins in a season (36), fewest losses (one), best winning percentage (.927) and most shutouts (18).
Johnson has not looked back since, advancing to the national championship game again in 2008, 2009, 2011 and 2012. Wisconsin brought back the WCHA playoff and NCAA title in 2009 after suffering a loss to Minnesota Duluth in the 2008 championship game. Johnson then put together another elite squad in 2010-11 season, with UW players leading the nation in nearly every category.
The third head coach in the program's history, Johnson joined the women's hockey staff after serving as an assistant coach with the men's program from 1996-2002.
During that time, he helped the men's team to a WCHA regular-season title during the 1999-2000 season, as well as a WCHA Final Five championship in the 1997-98 campaign.
Prior to his time with the Badgers, Johnson coached professionally, directing the expansion Madison Monsters to a 37-30-7 mark in the 1995-96 season and earning Colonial Hockey League coach of the year honors.
He also led a pair of area high schools, serving as the head coach of Verona from 1994-95 and as the assistant coach for Madison Memorial from 1993-94.
When Johnson made his first appearance as the head coach of the U.S. Olympic Women's Ice Hockey Team in 2010, he was quite familiar with the international scene as a coach. His first assignment came as an assistant coach for the U.S. Men's National Team at the 2000 International Ice Hockey Federation Men's World Championship, a role he also served in at the same event in 2002. Johnson was also an assistant coach at the 2001 U.S. Olympic Men's Ice Hockey Orientation Camp in Colorado Springs, Colo., which featured 38 of the top American players from the National Hockey League.
Johnson has been part of the U.S. women's national program as a head coach for several seasons. In 2006-07, he led Team USA to a second-place finish at the 2006 Four Nations Cup, as well as the silver medal at the 2007 IIHF World Women's Championship. In 2007-08, Johnson led the U.S. National Under-22 Team and, during the 2008-09 campaign, he guided the U.S. Women's National Under-18 Team to the gold medal at the 2009 IIHF World Women's U18 Championship.
Most recently, Johnson guided the U.S. Olympic team to a silver medal finish at the XXI Olympic Winter Games, Feb. 14-25, 2010, in Vancouver, British Columbia. Johnson led Team USA during the Qwest Tour from Sept. 2008 through Feb. 2010 in the lead-up to the Vancouver Olympic Games. The U.S. fell to Canada, 2-0, in the gold medal game after outscoring its opponents 40-2 in the first four games of the tournament.
On the Ice
In his playing career, Johnson helped Wisconsin to the 1977 national championship during his freshman campaign. The first Badger ever to win WCHA Rookie of the Year honors, he went on to become the school's second all-time leading scorer with 256 points on a school-record 125 goals and 131 assists in just three seasons.
The 1978-79 WCHA Most Valuable Player, Johnson was a two-time, first team All-WCHA pick and a two-time All-American. In 2002, he was also selected as one of the WCHA's "Top 50 Players in 50 Years."
Johnson has represented USA Hockey as a player in 13 international tournaments, with his most recent appearance as part of the U.S. national team at the 1998 IIHF (A-Pool) World Championship Qualification Tournament in Austria. Most notably, he led the 1980 U.S. Olympic Team's gold medal-winning effort with 11 points, including two goals in the "Miracle-On-Ice" against the Soviet Union and an assist on the game-winning goal against Finland in the final contest.
The team attended the opening ceremonies of the 2002 Olympic Winter Games to light the flame and was honored by Sports Illustrated as giving us the `Greatest Sports Moment of the Century.'
In 2004, Disney produced the blockbuster movie, "Miracle," chronicling the 1980 USA hockey team's unlikely climb to the top.
The Next Level
Following his Olympic experience, Johnson embarked on a successful 11-year NHL career. He began his pro tenure with the Pittsburgh Penguins (1980-82), before moving onto the Minnesota North Stars (1982).
He also enjoyed stints with the Hartford Whalers (1982-85), St. Louis Blues (1985) and New Jersey Devils (1985-90). Over his 669 career NHL contests, the forward collected 203 goals, 305 assists and 508 points, highlighted by his 87-point season as captain of Hartford in 1983-84. He also tied an NHL All-Star Game record with three assists that season.
As an accomplished athlete, coach and humanitarian, Johnson continues to be honored with awards year after year. In January 2009, as he was named the recipient of the Red Smith Award, given annually to an individual who has contributed or continues to contribute to sports either on or off the field in the state of Wisconsin.
In 2005, he received the NCAA Silver Anniversary award, one the most prestigious honors given by the NCAA, for his accomplishments in the 25 years following his days as a student-athlete.
Further, in 2004, Vince Lombardi Charitable Funds honored Johnson's volunteer work by presenting him with the Award of Excellence. That same year, he was inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame for his individual accomplishments as a player and coach. He was previously inducted as a member of the 1980 U.S. Olympic Men's Ice Hockey Team in 2003.
One of Wisconsin's most decorated athletes in any sport, Johnson was inducted into the Wisconsin Athletic Hall of Fame in 2003, the Wisconsin Hockey Hall of Fame in 2001 and is also a charter member of Wisconsin's National W Club Hall of Fame.
In 2002, Johnson was selected as one of the WCHA's "Top 50 Players in 50 Years," and, in 1999, he earned one of international hockey's highest honors when he was inducted into the IIHF Hall of Fame.
In addition, Johnson's contributions as a member of the 1980 Olympic team have continued to be recognized. In 2002, the team attended the opening ceremonies of the Olympic Winter Games to light the flame. That same year, the Miracle on Ice was named the `Greatest Sports Moment of the Century' by Sports Illustrated. In 2004, Disney produced the blockbuster move, Miracle, chronicling the team's unlikely climb to the top. Later that year, ESPN, as part of its 25th anniversary, declared the Miracle on Ice to be the top sports headline, moment, and game of the period from 1979-2004. Finally, in 2008, as part of its 100th anniversary celebration, the IIHF picked the Miracle on Ice as the No. 1 international hockey story of the century.
Born in Minneapolis on Sept. 22, 1957, and raised in Madison, Wis., Johnson is the son of legendary coach Bob Johnson. Bob coached Wisconsin to three national titles and led the United States at the 1976 Olympics, three Canada Cups (1981, 1984, 1987) and four IIHF Men's World Championships (1973-75, 1981). He went on to coach the NHL's Calgary Flames for five seasons (1982-87) and led the Pittsburgh Penguins to the Stanley Cup title in 1991 before passing away from brain cancer that fall.
Johnson earned his bachelor's degree in kinesiology from Wisconsin in 1994. He resides in Verona, Wis., with his wife Leslie. The couple has five children, Doug (2/24/84), Chris (11/3/85), Patrick (4/21/89), Mikayla (8/15/94) and Megan (1/15/97). Doug is the head coach for the Wisconsin Ice Spirit Girls' U14 hockey team, Chris played for the Augsburg College men's ice hockey team, Patrick played for the UW men's ice hockey team and Mikayla and Megan play hockey for the Wisconsin Ice Spirit Girls' U14 and U12 teams, respectively.