Milwaukee looking to return to top of league
Walk-ons Schmitz, Gruber add depth
Milwaukee has made progress
Recognized this past weekend at Idaho State
Panther head coach presents award at Idaho State
Success With Susie
Susie Johnson has continued the winning tradition of Milwaukee Panther volleyball.
Johnson was named head coach in May of 2007 after 10 years as an assistant and associate head coach in Milwaukee. All she has done since is lead UWM to 119 wins, four regular season titles, three league tournament crowns and three NCAA Tournament berths.
Her run has included the first undefeated Horizon League season in 17 years, a school-record 18-match winning streak and the program's best-ever NCAA Tournament performance - a heartbreaking five-set loss to Dayton in 2009.
The 2011 season may well have been her best. The Panthers went 25-5 overall and UWM went 16-0 in league play, becoming the first Horizon League team to go through the league schedule without a loss since Notre Dame did it in 1994. Milwaukee also set a school-record with 18-straight wins and nearly upset Iowa State in the first round of the postseason.
One season earlier, she led the Panthers to a 15-1 league mark and an 11-match winning streak. In fact, UWM started the season 3-7 against a difficult non-league schedule but then won 17 of 19 matches after that, capturing the league crown.
In 2009, she directed her team to another 11-match winning streak. The first eight wins helped her team move from eighth to third in the league standings before three more wins in the league tournament helped her squad to the title and an eighth NCAA Tournament berth.
In 2008, Johnson directed a squad that included 12 freshmen and sophomores to the top of the league standings. UWM also beat then-#18 Iowa State during non-league play and claimed the Horizon League Tournament title and automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament. During her first season as head coach, Johnson led the Panthers to a school-record 26 wins and a fifth-straight Horizon League regular season title. UWM also put together winning streaks of 14 and 12 matches.
UWM has won either the regular season or tournament championship in league play in 15 of the 16 seasons Johnson has been on the staff at UWM, while nine of the last 16 Panther squads have qualified for the NCAA Tournament. In fact, UWM has staked its claim to clearly being the top volleyball program in the Horizon League. The Panthers have won a league-record six league tournament titles while Milwaukee has gone 204-60 in Horizon League play since joining the conference (then the MCC) in 1994.
In her 15 seasons in Milwaukee, UWM has compiled a 345-130 record. That number includes a 191-35 mark in league play and a 161-33 record at home. Plus, the Panthers have won 103 of their 117 home league matches with Johnson on the bench.
Johnson's efforts on the recruiting trail have led to seven League Newcomers of the Year during her tenure, including Rachel Neuberger in 2009 and Kayla Price in 2011. Plus, 18 Panther players have earned a spot on the league's all-newcomer team in the last 16 years. Panther players have then consistently developed into the best players in the Horizon League. In her 16 seasons in Milwaukee, Johnson has coached nine League Players of the Year, with Kerri Schuh winning the award twice.
In all, players have earned all-league honors 45 times under Johnson and the recognition for Panther players has extended far beyond the Horizon League. With Johnson's assistance, UWM players have earned AVCA All-America honors nine times and AVCA All-Region honors 20 times. Plus, three Panthers have earned AVCA Region Freshman of the Year accolades, including Rachel Neuberger and Kayla Price.
Johnson's playing background is at setter, where she earned All-Big Sky and All-Northwest Region honors at Idaho State. She was also a two-time Academic All-Big Sky honoree and has helped direct the Panthers to great success in the classroom, with two Academic All-Americans and a team GPA above 3.3.
A native of Racine, Johnson joined the Panther staff after serving as an assistant coach at Indiana State. She also worked at Idaho State and was head coach at UW-Parkside. She lives in Racine with her husband, C.J., son Ty, daughter Josie and stepson Brody.