Editor’s note: The Johnson family has asked for privacy this week. Please withhold calls and visits at this time.
The Earlham College community is mourning the death of 2003 graduate and former head women’s basketball coach Melissa Johnson after a long illness.
“Melissa has become an enduring symbol of strength and hope at Earlham. She was always cheerful and positive. She was amazing,” said Earlham President Anne Houtman. “We are all better people for having worked alongside Melissa and witnessing her love for her family, her faith, and her dedication to our student-athletes and the sport of basketball.
“Our hearts and minds are heavy this week as we confront this tremendous loss,” she said. “Our deepest sympathies are with Melissa’s husband, Nick, and their two children, Jayden and Jacob.”
In addition to earning her bachelor’s degree in biology from Earlham, Johnson graduated from the College’s Master of Arts in Teaching program in 2007.
Johnson spent eight years as a member of the women’s basketball program – four as an assistant coach and four as a student-athlete — before becoming head coach.
As a player, Johnson was a two-time Earlham Defensive Player of the Year, a team captain for three seasons and a member of the best team in program history.
A celebration of life will be held on campus at a later date.