The Illinois Tech Department of Athletics is happy to announce that Mark Johnston has been named the new head men’s and women’s volleyball coach. An assistant on both staffs for the past three seasons, he will assume the role previously held by Katie Reifert beginning Monday, May 21.
“I am extremely grateful to be the next head men’s and women’s volleyball coach at Illinois Institute of Technology,” said Johnston. “This is a position have worked towards throughout my coaching career. It is truly a dream job for me.”
Coming to the Scarlet Hawks after serving as the head women’s volleyball coach at Moraine Valley Community College, Johnston’s presence helped elevate the competitiveness of both programs. On the women’s side, Illinois Tech earned United States Collegiate Athletic Association championship bids in each of the past two seasons, coaching two USCAA All-American First Team players, two USCAA All-American Second Team players, and one USCAA Student-Athlete of the Year: Reya Green.
As an assistant on the men’s volleyball staff, Johnston was instrumental in building the program from the ground up. After a one-win season in the program’s inaugural 2016 season, the Scarlet Hawks increased its win total to six in 2017 and 13 this past spring. Johnston has been key in developing Illinois Tech’s young talent, including the 2018 NCAA Division III leader in kills, Cinjun Coe.
“Mark has been an integral part of our success over the past two seasons and will slide easily into the head position,” said Director of Athletics Joe Hakes. “He obviously has familiarity with the players on both teams, and we look forward to continuing the upturn in both programs.”
“I would really like to thank former Head Coach Katie Reifert, who brought me aboard in 2015, as well as Joe Hakes, Marc Cowell, Jen Agosto, and the rest of the athletics staff. These are great people to work with, and I am so excited about the direction athletics is moving at Illinois Tech. Being an assistant for both programs for the last three years has made me realize what it takes to make volleyball at Illinois Tech successful.”
Johnston also knows the value of the university’s academic profile, which greatly enhances his program, as well as the student-athlete experience at Illinois Tech.
“Our student-athletes go on to do amazing things in the world, which is the real reward of working at Illinois Tech,” said Johnston. “The opportunity to recruit and train these insanely bright individuals is an incredible gift. The combination of great academics along with the chance to hone one’s athletic skills is something I strongly believe in.”
Both the men’s and women’s volleyball programs, along with several other Illinois Tech athletics teams, will begin play in NCAA Division III’s Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference (NACC) for the 2018–19 academic year.
“Joining the NACC instantly increases the strength of our schedules for both programs,” said Johnston. “I believe both programs will turn heads in the NACC and become national contenders in the near future.”
Both the men’s and women’s volleyball 2018–19 schedules will be announced this summer.