Courtesy of Amherst College Sports Information
AMHERST, Mass. – After spending the 2011-12 season as an assistant, Tracy Johnson has been named the Amherst College women's ice hockey program's interim head coach, Athletics Director Suzanne Coffey announced today.
"Having already spent a year with the program, this is truly an amazing opportunity at such an outstanding place," said Johnson. "The student-athletes and administration have made me feel so fortunate to be a part of the Amherst community."
In her debut season with the program, Johnson helped lead the Lord Jeffs to a 21-6-1 overall record and a 13-2-1 mark in conference play. Amherst advanced to the NESCAC finals for a sixth consecutive year and was one of only eight teams selected to participate in the NCAA Tournament.
Johnson replaces Jim Plumer, who coached the Lord Jeffs for nine years before accepting the head coaching position at University of Vermont earlier this year. Plumer led Amherst to two national championships and a 158-69-19 record, including a dominant 127-30-14 (.784) mark in the past six years.
"Tracy did an outstanding job in her first year with the program, and we're thrilled to have her returning in a new role," said Coffey. "We were fortunate to interview outstanding finalists for the head coaching position, but we decided when all was said and done that Tracy was our best candidate. She knows our systems and our student-athletes, and she has been recruiting tirelessly for months now."
"I don't think I can fully express how much I learned from Coach Plumer over the past year," said Johnson. "His commitment to the program and his constant pursuit of excellence were inspiring. He has built such an incredible culture here, and I am committed to maintaining that. His are definitely big shoes to fill, but I am confident that I can steer the program in a direction that will build off of the phenomenal foundation he has built."
Amherst has qualified for five of the past six NCAA Tournaments, winning at least 20 games in each of those seasons. Next year, the Jeffs will notably return All-America First Team selection and 2012 NESCAC Player of the Year Geneva Lloyd '13 to their blue line, which ranked second in Division III in scoring defense (1.29).
"I am very anxious and excited for the season to start," Johnson said. "We will have a slightly shorter bench compared to last season, but with the talent we have coming back, I believe it could be a great year."
Joining Johnson on the coaching staff will be Stephanie Clegg '12, who earned Amherst's Hitchcock Fellowship after spending four years as a multi-sport student-athlete. Clegg was a standout defenseman for the Lord Jeffs' women's hockey program and was part of the 2009 and 2010 national championship teams.
"We are grateful to our students and staff who assisted in this search process," Coffey said. "We have very high expectations for this year's team and are delighted to hand the reigns over to our terrific assistant coach, Tracy Johnson."