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Sydney Johnson
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Title Head coach
College Princeton
Sport Basketball
Born April 26, 1974 (1974-04-26) (age 35)
Place of birth United States Lansing, Michigan
Career highlights
Playing career
1993–1997 Princeton
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
Georgetown (asst.)

Sydney Johnson is the head men's basketball coach at Princeton University. The youngest coach in the Ivy League, he played for Princeton from 1993 to 1997, and was later an assistant coach for John Thompson III at Georgetown University.[1] Johnson's demeanor as a coach is said by players to be more benevolent than his predecessor, Joe Scott, who left for the University of Denver after compiling a losing record in three years at Princeton.[2]

Johnson began his college career at Princeton after having played for 4 years at Towson Catholic High School in Maryland and one postgraduate year at the Fork Union Military Academy in Virginia. Johnson showed strong leadership skills early in college and is the only three-time captain in university history. His junior year, he led the team to an Ivy League championship and a first round victory over UCLA in the 1996 NCAA Tournament.[3] While at Princeton, Johnson was a member of the Cap and Gown Club.

After writing his senior thesis on Kenyan education under British colonial rule and graduating with a bachelors degree in history, Johnson played professional basketball in Italy and Spain, one season each for Gorizia Pallacanestro A2, Reggio Calabria A2, Adecco Milano/Ducato Siena, Adecco Milano/Ducato Siena, Casademont Girona, and Montepaschi Siena.[4]<[5]

Johnson was then brought on as an assistant to the newly appointed head coach at Georgetown, John Thompson III, where he helped coach the team to an overall 72-30 record over 3 seasons, the 2007 Big East regular season championship, the 2007 Big East Tournament championship, and a trip to the Final Four of the NCAA Tournament.[6]

When Joe Scott abandoned his struggling Princeton team to coach at Denver, Gary Walters hired Sydney Johnson to take over the program. Former Tiger stars Brian Earl and Scott Greenman are among Johnson's assistants. After a tumultuous first season of rebuilding, Princeton began to show great improvement in 2008-2009, as they finished 13-14 with an 8-6 record in the Ivy League, which tied them with Yale for second place. The Tigers defeated Fordham, UNC-Greensboro, and Lehigh during their non-conference schedule and also notched wins over Harvard twice and eventual Ivy League champs Cornell.

Johnson has been very involved with the university as a whole during his head coaching career, participating in a task force charged with surveying the impact of Princeton's eating clubs on campus life, and sitting with his players in the student section at many home football games.[7]

Head coaching record

Season Team Overall Conference Standing Postseason
Princeton (Ivy League) (2007–present)
2007-2008 Princeton 6-23 3-11 T-6th
2008-2009 Princeton 13-14 8-6 T-2nd
Princeton: 19-37 11-17
Total: 19-37

      National Champion         Conference Regular Season Champion         Conference Tournament Champion
      Conference Regular Season & Conference Tournament Champion       Conference Division Champion


  1. ^ Rachel Orland, "Johnson '97 comes home," The Daily Princetonian April 23, 2007; online version.
  2. ^ Bill Finley, "New Princeton Coach Aims to Revive Tradition," The New York Times November 14, 2007; online version.
  3. ^ Princeton Office of Athletic Communications, "Sydney Johnson"; [1]
  4. ^ Princeton University Libraries; [2]
  5. ^ Princeton Office of Athletic Communications, "Sydney Johnson"; [3]
  6. ^ Princeton Office of Athletic Communications, "Sydney Johnson"; [4]
  7. ^ Josh Oppenheimer, "U. announces members of eating clubs task force," The Daily Princetonian Wednesday, September 30, 2009; [5]


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