Award-winning student news since 1978

The Brookhaven Courier

Award-winning student news since 1978

The Brookhaven Courier

Award-winning student news since 1978

The Brookhaven Courier

New athletic director molded by grit over talent

Emmy Hardy
Danielle Johnson

Danielle Johnson is Brookhaven Campus’ new athletic director. Johnson, known as “Coach D” by her peers, said she attributes much of her success as an athlete and a coach to her Detroit upbringing, support from family and friends, and an internal drive to succeed. Johnson was inspired by her father, as well as Pat Summit, Hall of Fame women’s basketball coach, to pursue her basketball career. Her coaching career began when she coached a high school basketball team on the Amateur Athletic Union circuit. She has coached volleyball, softball, basketball, bowling and tennis programs, in addition to mentoring of high school students.

Johnson’s first experience as an athletic director began at the age of 23. Johnson’s main priority with coaching is teaching students about themselves and affording them the opportunity to learn from life lessons she has earned through her own experiences.

Tell me about yourself.

I’ve been going by Coach Danielle for my whole career, and [now] it’s been abbreviated to Coach D. 28 years ago I started coaching. I was still in high school. I played on our 18 and under team, and the coach for the 13-year-olds didn’t understand the game. They were the ones who said, “Well you know the game. How about you coach?” And they were the ones who initially called me Coach Danielle.

How did growing up in Detroit shape you as a person?

My Detroit roots are strong, and it’s made me a strong person. Growing up with my two parents in a middle class environment in Detroit, I’ve seen a lot and learned a lot. It’s helped me to have tough skin and see things in a different perspective. You don’t always judge a book by its cover. You’ve got to go deeper. Don’t have prejudice. Don’t have preconceived notions about how you think somebody or something is.

What are your plans to help this athletic program flourish?

I’m here to support cultures and support student athletes to the best of my ability. There’s no limit on it. Whatever it takes I’m more than willing to do. Whether that means being a voice to the higher ups and letting them know what needs to be changed or fixed in our facilities to much more. In any capacity, whatever I need to do to advocate for my student athletes and for my coaches to make our program thrive, that’s what I’m here for.

What would be your message to any athlete interested in joining Brookhaven’s athletic program?

You are coming into a family atmosphere. Our coaches care about you as a person, not just for what you can do on the field or on the court. Overall: Welcome to the family.

Are there any plans to bring a women’s basketball team to Brookhaven?

Johnson: We do have a plan for a women’s basketball team. It could be here next year, or it could be the year after.

More to Discover