Johnson finalist for award


Jill Johnson, Western’s forward for the women’s basketball team, is headed to Atlanta for her nomination of the prestigious Coach Wooden Cup.

The Wooden Cup is given to athletes who have made a great difference throughout the community and who demonstrate outstanding leadership on and off the court.  It is one of the most important and distinctive honors an athlete can achieve.

The Wooden Cup is named in honor of John Wooden, a very successful coach in collegiate basketball history and a positive role model in the history of the NCAA.  Founded by Athletes for a Better World, a non-profit organization, the Coach Wooden Citizenship Cup is presented to two distinguished athletes from any sport, one collegiate and one professional.

Johnson was one of six collegiate athletes and three professional athletes who were finalists for the award.  She was scored in two different ways.  First, she was scored with regards to her training and competitive behaviors and also her displays of being a commodore of the coaches and team. The second part of the scoring is her contribution to society.

Coach Plett, Westerns women’s head coach, has only worked with Johnson for a year now and is honored to be in his position.  Coach Plett is very proud of her and the fact she was nominated for this award.

“She is always trying to turn things to the positive side, I think she is a great influence to the team and the people around her,” Coach Plett said.

Jill has not only inspired her team for the last four years, but she has made multiple contributions to the surrounding community.  Johnson is a substitute teacher on Sundays for the 6th-8th grades at the St. Paul Lutheran Church and she is the assistant coach for the Missouri Valley Cyclones 13u AAU Basketball team. Moreover, Johnson has also adopted a family for each of the last four years now.

Between school, basketball and community work she has not felt the full effect of being nominated quite yet.

“I don’t think it has really sunk in yet, exactly what this award means, but being recognized by the committee of Athletes for a Better World is exciting,” Johnson said.

Good friend and fellow senior teammate Chemia Woods is very proud of her and only wishes her the best. 

Woods met Johnson in Leaverton hall when they were both freshmen.  She mentioned she could not envision Johnson without the huge dedication to her friends, family and the community.

” Jill is a great vocal leader; she is the first one to speak to the coach and our teammates.  She wants to know how our day went even before basketball gets started,” Woods said.  “I am very proud of her and glad she is getting recognized.”

The Coach Wooden Cup was presented at the Ansley Golf Club in Atlanta on Thursday, Jan. 24, 2008. Though Johnson didn’t win, being up was an honor in itself.

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