RICHMOND, Indiana - The Earlham College football program and its coach, Nick Johnson, were featured on ESPN's College GameDay Saturday, Nov. 5.
The story, which appeared as a video feature, centers around the perseverance of Johnson coaching a struggling football program along with the medical battle his wife Melissa has endured for over two years.
Johnson was named Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Coach of the Year by his peers despite an 0-10 record in 2015.
Nick is a 2001 alumnus of the College having played four years of football and track & field for the Quakers. He served as assistant football coach from 2003-12 and was the head track & field coach for 12 seasons before taking the reins of the football program prior to the 2015 season.
Melissa graduated from Earlham in 2003 and was a four-year member of the women's basketball program. She went on to serve as the Quakers' head women's basketball coach for three seasons.
The Johnson's story was documented by Indianapolis Business Journal in a story entitled, "The Very Human Story Behind Earlham Football's Winless Record", in Oct. of 2015. The author, Mike Lopresti, is a lifelong Richmond resident.
D3football.com also wrote a piece on Coach Johnson entitled, "Heart of the Heartland".
"We're not at all surprised that ESPN has taken an interest in the story behind our football program," Earlham president David Dawson said. "Melissa's courage in the face of unimaginable illnesses has inspired our community – and beyond. Nick's unwavering devotion to the College and our student-athletes in the face of these challenges provides a model of character and commitment for us all."
"As a former standout student-athlete on our campus, Nick has a special connection to our athletic program and is working tirelessly to build a football program that is successful," Dawson continued. "At Earlham, success is measured in ways far more profound than wins and losses, and Nick has done an exceptional job identifying student-athletes who add to the vitality of our community and serving as their dedicated teacher and wise mentor."
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