Collegiate men’s basketball assistant coach Jermaine Johnson said he learned how to be a transformational leader while earning his bachelor’s degree from the United States Sports Academy.
Johnson was recently hired by Troy (Ala.) University as an assistant to head coach Scott Cross. He previously spent five seasons as an assistant coach – then associate head coach – at the University of Tennessee-Martin. Johnson said the Academy taught him to take a holistic view of coaching, to see the job as a collection of pieces and parts that are intimately connected.
Johnson earned his Bachelor of Sports Science degree in sports coaching from the Academy in 2007.
“I appreciated that the Academy was so focused on the details,” Johnson said. “The curriculum was detail oriented and focused on methodology, and that has helped shaped my coaching philosophy. I learned a lot about sport psychology, coaching philosophy, and organizational management from the Academy.
“The Academy taught me the difference between transactional leadership and transformational leadership,” he said. “I learned how to be a transformational leader, how to encourage and inspire the athletes I coach so that they can create change and grow as people and as players.
“The Academy also made me an avid reader, and I still use some of my school books in my career today. The Academy made me a student of coaching, and I can’t adequately say how much I appreciate that.”
Johnson was a key member of the UT-Martin’s recent success, with a run that includes the program’s first two Ohio Valley Conference West division championships (2015-16, 2016-17), the school’s first two appearances in the OVC Tournament championship game (2016, 2017) and five victories in the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament.
Johnson helped oversee 73 wins over the past four seasons, which are the most victories in any four-year span in the school’s Division-I Era (since 1992). Coinciding with Johnson’s first season with the program, the Skyhawks posted three consecutive 20-win seasons for the first time in school history (2014-17).
Johnson joined the Skyhawks from Georgia Southern University in Statesboro, Ga., where he helped the Eagles to the Southern Conference tournament semifinals in 2013-14.
A Memphis, Tenn., native, Johnson made a name for himself as head coach of the highly successful Melrose High School boys’ basketball program from 2007-13. He developed Melrose into a top-25 program in the nation after he won five straight District 16 AAA championships. His team also won the 2010 TSSAA Class AAA state title on its way to a 37-win season.
During his tenure, he coached 32 seniors and all 32 players received college scholarships. Johnson posted a 353-91 record as a high school head coach.