Johns will oversee the NFCA staff while aiding in the planning of the NFCA National Convention and the development of curriculum for the National Fastpitch Coaches College.
“We are very excited that Karen has joined the NFCA,” Lacy Lee Baker, NFCA Executive Director, said. “She has a tremendous knowledge of the game, and her coaching experience at the college and international levels will greatly benefit the NFCA as we continue to better the Association and grow the sport.”
While also assisting USA Softball in the 2008 Olympic year, she will act as NFCA liaison with the travel ball and assistant coach membership in addition to heading the Awards and Hall of Fame Committee and the Ethics Committee.
“I’m very appreciative for the opportunity that Lacy Lee and the NFCA staff has given me to work with them,” Johns said. “I’m excited because I love the game of softball. To be able to work with the sport from this end is going to be a neat opportunity for me. I’m looking forward to helping move softball ahead and joining the cause in bringing softball back to the Olympic Games, while also striving to help make the college, high school and travel ball games better than what they already are.”
Johns joins the Association following a seven-year head-coaching career in which she compiled a 238-196 record at the University of Florida and, most recently, the University of Virginia.
During a five-year stop in Gainesville, Johns led the Gators to a 192-131 mark and NCAA tournament appearances in four of her five seasons at the helm. Under her watch, the 2003 Gators hosted an NCAA regional for the first time, and the 2005 squad claimed its highest ranking ever in the USA Today/NFCA Top 25 Poll when it came in at No. 14, a rating matched by the 2007 Gators in the final poll.
In addition to her collegiate coaching career, Johns has also served as an assistant coach with USA Softball since 2005. She recently returned from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where she helped guide the Americans to an eighth Pan American Games gold medal.
After resigning from Virginia at the end of the season, Johns provided color analysis for ESPN postseason fastpitch coverage. She also assisted the United States with this summer’s runs to the Canada Cup and KFC World Cup titles.
The World Cup title marked the second for the Morristown, N.J., native, as she served on the national team coaching staff that won the II World Cup of Softball title in 2006. That summer, she also helped lead the U.S. to the XI International Softball Federation World Championship, making her the first person to play and coach for the United States in the world championship.
In 2005 Johns helped lead the USA Elite team to a silver medal at the Canada Cup, and she assisted the national team in its silver-medal run at the first-ever World Cup of Softball.
Prior to advancing into the head coaching ranks, Johns served as an assistant coach at the University of Alabama from 1996-2000. During that time she helped guide the Crimson Tide to a sixth-place showing at the 2000 Women’s College World Series, its first NCAA regional berth in 1999 and the 1998 SEC tournament title.
A two-time all-America and three-time all-region performer at South Carolina, Johns played on the United States squads that won gold medals at the 1990 and 1994 ISF World Championships, the 1994 South Pacific Classic and the 1995 Pan Am Games.