PEMBROKE - Athletic department officials at the University of North Carolina on Pembroke announced the hiring of Othello Johnson as its sixth wrestling head coach on Tuesday afternoon.
“I am very honored to take over such a successful program,” Johnson said. “I look forward to continuing the success the program has built over the last five years under Coach Jamie Gibbs. I believe there is much more UNCP Wrestling is capable of, and I am very excited to be leading the Braves into the future.”
Johnson takes over the reins of a tradition-rich wrestling program from his mentor, Jamie Gibbs, who resigned after five years at the helm of the Braves in July. Johnson, who has served UNCP as an assistant coach in each of the past five seasons, will begin his duties in the athletic department immediately. He will also serve as a lecturer in the Health, Physical Education and Recreation Department at UNC Pembroke.
Johnson brought his expertise to the coaching world as an assistant coach for the UNCP wrestling team in 2006, playing an integral role in leading the Braves to five-straight top-30 appearances. As an assistant coach, he mentored seven NCAA all-Americans and eight student-athletes to NWCA All-Academic Team accolades. In addition, 16 student-athletes made appearances at the NCAA Division II National Championships during his most recent stint.
Over the last five years, UNCP has churned out a 51-40 dual meet clip, while also registering a slew of impressive finishes at distinguished tournaments, most notably a third-place honor at the Midwest Classic in December and a sixth-place finish at the NWCA/Cliff Keen National Duals in January. UNCP posted its best finish (T-17th) at the 2011 NCAA Division II National Championships after being ranked No. 11 in the final regular season national poll.
He has also served a previous stint as a student assistant coach with the UNC Greensboro wrestling team, as well as undertaking adjunct teaching positions at both Sandhills Community College in Pinehurst and at Robeson Community College in Lumberton. He also serves as a camp instructor for the annual Ken Chertow Wrestling Camps. He is certified in both Red Cross CPR and First Aid and has attended each of the last three National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA) conventions.
Johnson began his athletic and academic career at Colby (Kan.) Community College in 2001, twice (2002, 2003) capturing all-American accolades from the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA). As a freshman, he turned in a seventh place finish at the NJCAA National Championships and highlighted Colby’s runner-up finish at the 2003 event with a sixth place finish. The Trojans finished just 4-1/2 points for the national team title at the 2003 NJCAA National Championships. He also captured all-academic honors from the NJCAA as a sophomore as well.
After earning his associate’s of arts degree from Colby CC in 2003, he moved on to UNC Greensboro where he was a two-time starter for the Spartans during the 2003-04 and 2004-05 campaigns. As a junior, he helped lead UNCG to a third place finish at the Southern Conference Tournament, and then took home sixth place laurels at the Southern Scuffle during his senior season.
Johnson earned his bachelor’s degree in exercise and sports science from UNCP in 2007, and then earned his master’s degree in physical education from UNCP in 2010. Johnson and his fiancé, former UNCP basketball and track & field/cross country standout Ivy Ramsey, celebrated the birth of their first child, Norah, in November of 2009.