The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Assistant coach Johnson welcomes hectic schedule

Photo by Maggie Bean
Stan Johnson’s fashion sense is part of how he presents Marquette to recruits.

During a recent recruiting trip in late September, assistant coach Stan Johnson found himself eating breakfast in Michigan, lunch in South Carolina and dinner in Florida.

No matter how tired he is, or how much he misses Milwaukee, Johnson has to be focused at each stop.

He’ll meet with high school basketball players that may one day don the blue and gold, so he has to leave the best impression possible. Most people would dread the kind of schedule Johnson has during recruiting season, but Johnson sees it as the price of doing business.

For Johnson, traveling is the norm and being on the road for that amount of time can be taxing. On any given day during the recruiting cycle, Johnson will often cross multiple state lines.

“I tell people all the time when you are at this level, this is a lifestyle,” Johnson said. “There are a few months during the year when you get to be home a little more, but it’s really what we do.”

Johnson’s coaching career is similar to one of his busy recruiting days. He started at Bemidji State, a Division II school in Minnesota, and then had stops at California State Northridge, Utah, Drake and Arizona State before coming to Marquette three years ago.

Johnson consistently treated his recruits as people first and players second, something that jelled nicely with head coach Steve Wojciechowski’s philosophy. Johnson quickly became a vital part of the coaching staff and recruiting process, resulting in a promotion this offseason to associate head coach.

Wojciechowski immediately pointed to Johnson’s aptitude for building relationships as one of his greatest strengths as a recruiter.

“Obviously, he works hard at it, but I think the most important thing is his ability to connect with the people he is recruiting.” Wojciechowski said.

When Johnson walks into a room, his clothing choices stand out, and media day was no exception. While the rest of the coaching staff wore conservative dark suits, Johnson went with a royal blue. When he goes to see a recruit, Johnson will often wear a freshly pressed, colorful suit, along with polished dress shoes.

“He’s a great dresser,” Wojciechowski said. “(He’s) got big time style. Makes us all look better.”

While style is fun for Johnson, it is also part of his pitch to a new recruit.

“The greatest communication that we have is non-verbal communication,” Johnson said.

Johnson’s demeanor matches his clothing style: assertive, sharp, yet with a pinch of familiarity. As a recruiter, Johnson is a salesman — hence the pressed suits and polished shoes — but the goal is to never make the recruit feel like he is being pitched.

“I want people to always feel differently when we leave,” Johnson said. “These kids are going to get recruited by a lot of different people. For us, we don’t want to come across as a car salesman.”

The staff wants to make sure that the relationship is genuine and they’ve done the best possible job of earning trust for a recruit.

Recruiting is about more than talk. It’s about showing up.

That’s why Johnson finds himself eating his meals in different time zones all the more frequently.

“In recruiting, it’s easy to sit on the phone and promise the world. It’s easy to sit in my office rather than go recruiting, but if what I tell them is backed by what I’m doing, now you have a chance to really separate yourself from the rest of the group.”

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