Following a 10-year professional playing career, a successful career at the University of Tennessee, and spending two years as an assistant coach for two Johnson City area schools, Damon Johnson landed with one of his mentors as an assistant coach for Tornado Men’s Basketball. A man strong in his beliefs and passionate about Northeast Tennessee, Johnson enters his second season with the King College men’s basketball program.
In his first season with the Tornado, Johnson aided King in a seven-game improvement from the 2010-11 season. He helped lead the Tornado to a Conference Carolinas Regular Season Championship in its first year as a league member behind a stout defense that averaged 6.8 steals per game, held its opponents to 65 or fewer points 11 times throughout the season, and was backed by an offense that finished No. 1 in the country in three-point field goals per game, averaging 11.0 per contest. After a year that put a King program into the NCAA Tournament for the first time in the College’s history, Johnson witnessed two players be named the All-Conference team and one represented on the All-Southeast Region Team.
Johnson played professionally in Europe for ten seasons before returning to the United States. He began his professional career playing in Iceland where he was crowned Iceland League MVP in consecutive seasons from 1997-1999 and led his team to three Icelandic Regular Season Championships. In 2003, he guided his team to a 2003 Icelandic Cup championship and was named to the All-Star team twice. In addition, Johnson earned a silver medal playing with Iceland in the 2002 Small Nations Olympics.
Johnson then moved on to play in the Spanish professional leagues for Cantabria, Huelva, L’Hospitalet, Lleida, and Gescrap BB. While playing in Spain, he was named to one All-Star team, won a league championship and was named to the Spanish All-Defensive Team in 2006. He concluded his professional career playing for the Smoky Mountain Jam of the ABA in their inaugural season in 2008-09.
Prior to going pro, Johnson played one season at Hiwassee Junior College (Madisonville, Tenn.) where he was named a First Team All-American. He then transferred to the University of Tennessee and played for the Volunteers from 1994-96. In his three years at UT he was a two-year starter, voted Best Team Player in 1995 and Most Versatile Player after his senior season in 1996.
In 2009, he returned to Tennessee and began teaching in the Johnson City school system. Upon his return he taught at South Doyle High School and was the assistant coach for the boys' basketball team. He spent 2010 teaching in special education classrooms while serving as the seventh grade boys' basketball coach at Indian Trail Middle School.
As a Johnson City native, he played for current Tornado head coach, George Pitts while attending Science Hill High School from 1989 to 1992. Under his tutelage, Johnson led his team to a state title in 1990 and a state runner-up finish in 1991 under Pitts. His teams won the conference title all four years of his playing career plus won three district and regional titles. He also has a place in the Science Hill High School Hall of Fame.
Johnson graduated with bachelor’s degree in child psychology from Tennessee in 1996 and currently resides in Johnson City. He has a daughter, Shydasha (18), who played for Tennessee Girls’ Basketball State Runner Up Science Hill High School and was named to the All-Tournament Team as a junior.