Mary Johnston was appointed head volleyball coach and assistant athletic director at Franklin College in March of 2010.
In her time at Franklin, Johnston has turned the program into a conference contender. In each of her seasons at the helm the program saw an increase in match wins from a 4-22 record in 2010 to a 17-14 season in 2014. 2014 also brought a Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference playoff berth where the Grizzlies advanced to the semifinal match.
Franklin repeated with 17 match victories during the 2015 season. The team tied for third place HCAC finish and a five-set tournament first-round tournament win against Transylvania University. The Grizzlies reached the semifinals of the conference tournament for the second straight season.
The Grizzlies also ranked among the top defensive teams, leading all NCAA Division III schools in digs (2,596). The team stood seventh best in digs per set (20.28) and ranked 25th in team total blocks (256). Mackenzie Wieneke '16 finished third nationally in total digs (772) and ninth best in digs per set (6.02).
Johnston led the volleyball team to its first postseason victory since 2006 with a 3-1 win at Mount St. Joseph University in 2014. The Grizzlies also defeated regionally ranked Trine University in the 2014 regular-season finale. The 17-14 record and a 5-4 HCAC mark were the most wins since the 2005 campaign.
Johnston guided the Grizzlies to a 15-15 record in 2013, the most wins the team had achieved in eight seasons. That squad also ranked fourth nationally among NCAA Division III teams in digs per set (20.30). The 15 wins were a seven-win improvement from the previous season. Wieneke earned first-team All-HCAC honors in 2013. She ranked 13th nationally in digs per set (5.81). Ashley Bazier '17 earned All-HCAC Freshman Team accolades.
Prior to her arrival at Franklin, Johnston served as the assistant women’s coach at Stevens Institute of Technology where she helped guide Stevens to a 26-10 record and its sixth consecutive conference championship and NCAA Division III Tournament appearance. In the preceding 2008 season, Stevens produced a 33-5 record, which included a 24-match winning streak and an unbeaten mark in conference contests.
In her capacity as athletics administration assistant, she worked closely with Stevens’ student affairs office, served as team liaison for visiting schools’ athletic teams, and coordinated the Champs/Life Skills programs for student-athletes among many areas of responsibility.
Franklin is not Johnston’s first tenure as a collegiate level head coach. Prior to her arrival at Stevens, Johnston served as the head women’s volleyball and softball coach at SUNY Canton. The 2007 Sunrise Conference Volleyball Coach of the Year, she guided her team to a 16-10 overall record, an 8-0 mark in conference matches, and a berth in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics national tournament.
Johnston graduated from Medaille College with a bachelor’s degree in sports management in May, 2005. She was a Dean’s List student all eight semesters at Medaille. During her athletic career there, Johnston was a two-sport athlete. She was captain three of her four years on the volleyball team and was named a first-team All-American by the National Small Conference and also was recognized on the North Eastern Athletic Conference first team.
Johnston also played softball for four seasons at Medaille. During her career, she received first team honors from the NEAC and Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference. A two-time captain (2004 and 2005), Johnston was selected to the AMCC All-Academic first team.
She earned her master’s degree in higher education administration from Old Dominion University in May of 2007. Johnston began coaching at the St. Mary’s High School summer camp in 1999 and served in that role until 2006. As an undergrad student at Medaille, she served as head freshman girls basketball coach at St. Mary’s in 2003.