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Ken Sugiura

Volleyball coach may be returning to old job

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Former Georgia Tech volleyball coach Tonya Johnson may be returning to her former position as an associate head coach at Texas.

While Texas is among volleyball’s elite, it would be an unusual transition to leave a head coaching position for a No. 2 job.

Tech associate athletic director Theresa Wenzel said Saturday that she couldn’t comment on if Texas was Johnson’s destination. Johnson did not respond to a voicemail message seeking comment.

Johnson resigned from Tech Friday to take an unnamed college coaching position. Wenzel said Friday that the opening Johnson was taking was created due to a “domino effect,” which fits the scenario at Texas.

Texas’ job came open when its associate head coach left to take a similar position at Penn State (announced Thursday) after one of its assistants left to become Maryland’s head coach. Wenzel was not at liberty to disclose Johnson’s destination, but called it “an opportunity for her that, professionally, she couldn’t pass up.”

Johnson coached at Texas 2003-2008, serving as an assistant coach for five years and associate head coach in her final season for head coach Jerritt Elliott, who holds the same position. She coached at Tech for the past five seasons with an overall record of 85-72 and an ACC record of 50-50. Tech posted back-to-back 22-10 seasons in 2009 and 2010, but dropped to 15-16 in 2011, 19-12 in 2012 and 12-20 this past season.

“This was not an easy decision for me because of the love I have for my players and the relationships I have made here at Georgia Tech,” Johnson said in a statement. “Georgia Tech is a great place and I will certainly miss it.”

Texas and Tech operate in different spheres. According to figures from the U.S. Department of Education, Tech spent about $179,000 in volleyball game-day expenses in the 2013 fiscal year. Texas spent $1 million.

The Longhorns have won two national championships and have reached the NCAA regional finals in each of the past eight years, the only school able to make that claim.

Tech has fielded strong teams in the past, winning five ACC regular-season titles and two conference tournaments and making nine NCAA tournament berths, most recently in 2009 in Johnson’s first season. However, no ACC school has ever won an NCAA title and the conference only has one Final Four berth to its credit.

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