Phil Johnson, with more than 20 years of coaching experience in basketball, is in his fifth season as a USC assistant coach.
"I have a great respect for the basketball knowledge of Phil Johnson and am very pleased that he has decided to stay at USC," said head coach Kevin O'Neill. "He is a superior basketball tactician and has had an integral role in what USC has accomplished the past few seasons."
Johnson served as former head coach Tim Floyd's right-hand man , playing a key role in preparing the game plans. Along with all of his assistant coaching and recruiting duties, he has an important role of working with the development of USC's big men. He worked as an assistant with Floyd twice before, first at the University of New Orleans and then with the NBA's Chicago Bulls.
Johnson, 51, was the head coach at San Jose for three seasons (2002-2004), his second stint at the helm of the Spartan's program. He also served as San Jose State's head coach for the 1999 season, before leaving to become an assistant with the Bulls. In 1999, the Spartans won nine more games than they did the previous season, one of the top-20 turnaround programs in the country that season. Included in San Jose's 12 wins were upsets over UNLV coached by Jerry Tarkanian and UTEP coached by Don Haskins, both members of the 700-win club.
Prior to coaching at San Jose State, Johnson served five years (1994-98) as an assistant coach at Arizona under Lute Olson. All five years he worked for the Wildcats, they played in the NCAA Tournament, winning the national championship in 1997. Arizona posted a composite 133-35 record in his five seasons. He also was an assistant coach at Tulsa in 1991 and under Floyd at the University of New Orleans in 1992 and 1993.
Johnson's coaching career began in 1983 at his alma mater, East Central Oklahoma University, where he led the Tigers to conference championships in each of his three seasons (1983-85), reaching the NAIA Division IX finals in 1984.
His first head coaching job, at the age of 28, was at Northern Oklahoma Junior College (1986-87), before moving to Seminole Junior College for three seasons (1988-90). His 1988 Seminole team won a state championship and the 1989 squad was a conference champion.
Lute Olson credits Johnson with developing some of their better big men while at Arizona as an assistant, including Bennett Davison, A.J. Bramlett, Ray Owes, Joseph Blair and Ben Davis, all who were selected in the NBA draft.
Johnson graduated from East Central Oklahoma in 1981 with a bachelor's degree in education. He went on to earn his master's degree in education from Henderson State in 1982. As a player, he was co-captain of the 1979 ECOU team.
Johnson is single and resides in Santa Monica.