GJ coach Johnson takes CMU assistant job

After 11 years coaching the Grand Junction High School boys basketball team, Dutch Johnson officially resigned Monday to accept a Colorado Mesa men’s basketball assistant coaching position.

Johnson informed the Grand Junction players of his decision Friday.

During his tenure with the Tigers, Johnson amassed a record of 165-68, winning five Southwestern League coach of the year awards. Grand Junction made the playoffs every year Johnson coached, advancing to the second round 10 times and making four sweet sixteen appearances.

Johnson said his initial duties with CMU will include in-state recruiting and “a lot of game film and scouting,” adding that his role coaching specific players has yet to be defined.

Johnson is returning to his coaching roots. After playing for Mesa from 1998 to 2000, Johnson was a student assistant for the Mavericks for two years before starting at Grand Junction.

On top of returning to Mesa, Johnson said coaching with his friend, CMU men’s basketball coach Andy Shantz, drew him to the job.

“Any time you get the chance to coach with a good friend, that’s definitely something you look at,” Johnson said. “And I think I was ready for a change. I played at Mesa and had coaching experience there. It really felt like it was time for a new challenge, and being able to take on recruiting some of these kids in Colorado and other day-to-day operations is great. Obviously the learning curve in college is different than it is coaching high school, but it is something that I look forward to.”

Johnson will continue teaching at Grand Junction, and Grand Junction athletic director Ned Pollert said Johnson’s impact reaches beyond coaching.

“We will not only miss the leadership that Dutch has brought to our men’s basketball program, but his leadership and involvement with the Tigers coaching staff will be missed as well,” Pollert said in a release.


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