Portland State names John Johnson new athletic director

via Portland State athletics

John Johnson has been named the new Director of Athletics at Portland State University. He comes to the Park Blocks with proven leadership in management and fundraising and an impressive career resume that includes 11 years as an Athletics Director within the Big Sky Conference and 17 years as a Senior Associate Athletics Director and Deputy Athletics Director at a pair of Power 5 schools.

Johnson was selected by PSU President Stephen Percy after an extensive search. He will begin duties on campus May 1. The Director of Athletics position has been open since July of 2021. Linda Williams has served as the Interim Athletics Director during that time.

“Along with the wider Portland State community, I wish to enthusiastically welcome John Johnson to Portland and to our vibrant urban campus,” said PSU President Stephen Percy. “In John, we have found a very experienced and steady hand to guide our PSU Vikings Athletics program into the future. I look forward to working alongside John to develop a pathway to advancing our athletics program to serve our student athletes and further enrich our relationship with our region.”

“I am eager to join the Portland State community this spring,” said John Johnson. “I see tremendous momentum and even more potential in the Viking Athletics program and I look forward to working with all of the talented student athletes and dedicated staff at Portland State. I am grateful to President Percy for this opportunity to return to the Northwest and to get to work in the Big Sky Conference.”

Most recently Johnson served as Senior Deputy Athletic Director at the University of Nebraska. From 2004-2019 he was the Senior Associate Director of Athletics for Washington State University. His career has also included being Director of Athletics at Weber State University (1997-2004) and Eastern Washington University (1993-97). He has a BA and Master’s in business administration from Eastern Washington.

Johnson takes over leadership of the PSU’s Viking Athletics program that consists of 15 Division I sports and competes in the Big Sky Conference. Recent successes have included a 2021 Big Sky Softball Championship and a pair of wins over Top 25 programs early in the 2022 season; seven school records and double All-American status for runner Katie Camarena; a 20-win season for Viking Volleyball; a fall 2021 win by the football team over nationally-ranked and defending Big Sky Champion Weber State; and a run to the Big Sky Basketball Tournament semifinals that included 10 wins in 13 games by the men’s basketball team.

In addition to building on athletics success, Johnson will be tasked with developing a comprehensive strategic plan that will carry athletics at Portland State forward in a way that is both financially sustainable and in the spirit of PSU’s identity as an urban research university that provides pathways to brighter futures for students of all backgrounds.


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