|Nick Johnson has been the head coach at Earlham for 39 games, none of them victories.
Earlham athletics photo by Dan Oetting
Nick Johnson has decided to step down from his position as Earlham's head football coach at the end of the season in order to better attend to the needs of his family.
Johnson, a 2001 graduate, will remain at Earlham assisting with student-athlete development for the athletic department. He also will support the work of Institutional Advancement by drawing on his experience with students, parents and alumni to foster and grow relationships between these constituencies and the college. He will assume his new responsibilities on April 1, 2019, after being granted a paid sabbatical.
Athletic director Julie Kline said that information about future leadership for the football program will be forthcoming after the conclusion of the season.
Johnson has been a coach in the Earlham athletics program since 2001, serving as head track and field coach for 12 years, and an assistant football coach from 2003-12. He became head football coach in 2015. Under his tutelage, Earlham football players have earned 23 HCAC honors and awards. The program, however, has lost all 39 games in those four seasons and currently is in the midst of a 53-game losing streak, the longest in NCAA Division III history.
"It has been a great honor to coach and mentor these young men and to serve my alma mater," said Johnson. "It's become clear to me, however, that I can't be 100 percent effective both as a head coach and as a husband and father, particularly as my wife continues to confront serious health concerns."
His wife, Melissa "Mel" (Liffick) Johnson '03, is a former Quakers women's basketball coach. She has faced a variety of illnesses, undergoing several surgeries and spending long stretches in hospitals. The couple has two young children.
"Nick is a tremendous asset to Earlham, and I am very pleased that he will continue to work at the college in this new student- and alumni-focused role," said interim president Avis Stewart.
"This change in roles for Nick will help us to better address the needs of student-athletes," Kline said. "I am grateful to Nick for his leadership of the football program these past four years, and I look forward to working with him in his new capacity."
Vice president of institutional advancement Kristin Champa added, "Nick is well known and respected among Earlham alumni and our friends in the local community. We look forward to the perspective and experience he will bring to his new role in alumni relations."
Johnson's final game as head football coach will be on Nov. 10, as the Quakers play at Rose-Hulman.