Few colleges and universities in the United States can count themselves as fortunate as Earlham College to have an ambassador as capable and respected as alumnus Nick Johnson.
A powerful motivator with a singular ability to connect with students, parents, alumni, and friends of Earlham College, this former student-athlete, assistant coach, and head coach for two programs will move into a new role assisting with student-athlete development and supporting Earlham’s Institutional Advancement office. Johnson began new duties in April 2019.
Johnson recently completed a four-year stint as the Quakers’ head football coach, earning Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference (HCAC) Coach of the Year honors in 2015. Under his tutelage, Earlham football players garnered 23 HCAC accolades, including 2015 HCAC Special Teams Most Valuable Player Jalen Kenner. Numerous program records including career receptions, reception yards, consecutive games with a reception, and all-purpose yards were set by Earlham during Johnson’s tenure as head coach.
The Fort Wayne, Ind., native was an assistant coach for the Quakers in football from 2003-12, serving the last five years as the defensive coordinator. He also served as Earlham's head track coach for 12 years prior to moving back to the football program.
A beloved member of the Earlham and Richmond communities, Johnson has also been profiled on ESPN’s College GameDay in 2016 for his effort to balance his coaching duties with caring for his wife, former Earlham women’s basketball coach Melissa (Liffick) Johnson ’03. “Mel” has battled a range of illnesses in recent years, undergoing several surgeries and spending long stretches in the hospital.
A 2001 graduate of Earlham College, Johnson earned a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in human development and social relations. He served as the Quakers' assistant track and cross-country coach prior to 2004. As an athlete for the Quakers, he was a four-year letterman in both football and track.
As a defensive lineman, Johnson shares an Earlham football record with four quarterback sacks in a single game and led the team in sacks as a senior with nine.
Nick and Melissa reside in Richmond with their daughter, Jayden, and son, Jacob.
*Last updated – November 19, 2018