Three-time League Coach of the Year Chris Johnson enters his 21st season at the helm of the IUPUI women’s soccer program in 2023 and his 30th year as a collegiate head coach. Johnson ranks as the program's all-time wins (144) leader and since taking over the IUPUI program in 2003, has made IUPUI a recognizable name and elevated the Jaguars to new heights. He's authored over 200 collegiate victories, including ten seasons of double-digit victories.
His 2016 team returned the program to winning ways, going 9-7-3 behind an offense that powered in 32 goals. That squad collected non-conference wins over Xavier, Evansville, Indiana State and Valparaiso, earning high praise throughout the region.
At IUPUI, he's coached two All-Region performers, three Scholar All-Region selections, two league Players of the Year, four Freshmen of the Year, four Academic All-Region picks and nine First Team All-League performers. In addition, his 2009 team earned the program's lone NCAA appearance.
The 2009 Jaguars totaled a school record 17 wins and captured its second straight Summit League regular season co-championship. From there, Johnson’s team rolled to wins over North Dakota State and South Dakota State in The Summit League Tournament to earn the program’s first-ever NCAA Tournament berth. For his achievements, he earned his third Summit League Coach of the Year Award and became the first mentor to win back-to-back honors in the process.
During the fairytale season, IUPUI rattled off a school record 12 straight wins at one point, ranking second only to Stanford’s win streak for the longest in the country. IUPUI also set an assortment of new school records including scoring 41 goals and tying the school mark with eight shutouts.
Individually, his student-athletes piled up a slew of awards too as Stephanie Hoffman became the first IUPUI player ever to be named the league’s Defensive Player of the Year and Alicia Brock became IUPUI’s first-ever Offensive Player of the Year. Brock and McCrory also became IUPUI’s first-ever All-Region honorees and McCrory and Anna Pigg earned Academic All-District honors.
The 2008 season saw IUPUI begin its upward trend as Johnson led the Jaguars to a then-school record 13 victories and a share of its first-ever Summit League Regular Season crown. In addition, Johnson’s club reached the four-team league tournament for the first time since 2001, earning him Coach of the Year honors. That year, IUPUI set a new school record with eight shutouts and recorded seven straight league wins and a school record six-game winning streak to close the regular season. The six-game winning streak included the program’s first-ever win over crosstown rival Butler and an emphatic 2-0 win over regionally ranked Evansville.
Following the season, Brock became just the second player in IUPUI history to earn league Newcomer of the Year honors and McCrory was the program’s first First Team All-League pick since 2000. The four Jaguars earning All-League honors were the most in school history.
Although IUPUI bowed out in the opening round of The Summit League Tournament to SDSU in ‘08, McCrory continued to rack up accolades following the year. She was named Academic All-Region by multiple outlets and later became the second women’s soccer player under Johnson to earn the IUPUI Michael A. Carroll Scholarship.
In 2010, five of Johnson's players were honored by The Summit League, with three earning a spot on the All-Newcomer Team. In 2009, Johnson was also named Indiana’s Responsible Coach Award Winner, sponsored by Liberty Mutual in association with ASA Softball, Positive Coaching Alliance, USA Football and US Youth Soccer.
Johnson’s program has been elite defensively, posting the 12 lowest goals against average totals in school history under his direction. His teams have been at their best under pressure, as evidenced by his 10-6-32 (.542) record in overtime matches while at IUPUI.
Despite a disappointing record in 2007, his student-athletes still accomplished some program firsts. Seniors Sheri Levack and Lisa Gebhard became the first-ever Academic All-Region selections in the program’s history and both later shared the IUPUI Dorothy Cheesman Award - the highest academic honor given to a female graduating student-athlete.
Gebhard later became the first former IUPUI women’s soccer player to ink a professional contract, signing to play with FC Gutersloh of the German 2nd Bundesliga.
In 2006, his Jaguars posted the second best winning percentage in program history, finishing the year at 6-7-5. Four of his student-athletes were honored by the Mid-Continent Conference, headlined by a trio of Second Team All-Conference performers.
Gebhard earned her second honor, while freshman goalkeeper Jamie Farrell ranked among the nation’s elite in goals against average and save percentage en route to second team honors. Additionally, Emily Hicks was picked to the second team and McCrory was chosen to the All-Newcomer Team.
The Jaguars went 2-2-2 in league play, but missed the postseason for the second time in three years, despite posting a .500 record. It was a year of firsts as well, as IUPUI posted it’s first-ever win over Oakland, while also getting its first-ever ties with in-state foes Butler and IPFW.
Johnson, also the 2004 Mid-Continent Conference Coach of the Year, is responsible for the only winning seasons in the program’s history, while establishing a host of school records along the way. Despite a roster predominantly of underclassmen that season, the Jags set then-new marks for single-season wins (10), winning percentage (.588) and shutouts (7).
The Jags had three players receive all-conference recognition for the first time since 2000 and was honored with the Team Academic Award by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) for the second consecutive year.
Johnson’s squad amassed a 10-7-0 record, including a win over NCAA Tournament participant Detroit on the road and a pair of school record four-game winning streaks. His team, noted for its defensive prowess, allowed just two goals during a seven-game stretch in which they outscored the opposition 13-2. The Jags narrowly missed out on the program’s first Mid-Con Tournament bid since 2001, despite turning in a 3-3-0 mark against league foes.
Known for his ability to recruit and develop talent at the Division I level, the Indianapolis-native has scoured the state and the Midwest to land talented high school standouts since arriving at IUPUI. While his recruiting classes have been built around in-state talent, he’s also brought players from California, Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, Wisconsin and even Canada, England and Germany to the university.
Off the field, Johnson’s program is among IUPUI’s best in the classroom and in the community. His teams have been honored with the NSCAA College Team Academic Award each of the past eight seasons and 11 total times under Johnson (2003, 2004, 2007, 2009-16).
Johnson’s rebuilding project began in 2003 when his young squad had a 2-13-2 record, but lost eight matches by two goals or less, four of which were Mid-Con matches. He picked up his first-ever Division I win at Eastern Michigan on Oct. 3 in overtime.
That season, junior Angie Volovich was honored with the Dorothy Cheesman Award and was also chosen among the Top 100 students at the university. In 2005, junior Joan Vidimos was awarded the Michael A. Carroll Scholarship, which is the highest recognition given to a returning student-athlete, while Lacey Barron was honored with the Cheesman Award. Vidimos followed by winning the Cheesman Award in 2006.
Johnson’s hiring in March of 2003 paid immediate dividends as he put together one of the deepest recruiting classes in the program’s short history. Despite an abbreviated recruiting season, Johnson added nine student-athletes to the roster in the spring recruiting period alone. Those nine additions accounted for 47 percent of the team’s offense and combined to make 63 starts.
Prior to coming to IUPUI, Johnson spent nine years building the women’s soccer program at the University of Indianapolis. As the first coach in school history, Johnson compiled an 81-79-2 record, including a 13-5-1 mark in 2001. That season, his Greyhounds reached the No. 24 spot in the NCAA Division II polls on Oct. 1. Johnson also put the program in the polls on Sept. 16, 1997 after defeating two nationally ranked teams. He helped his teams improve from 1-8-0 in their initial campaign in 1994 to 12-7-0 by 1996.
Prior to that, Johnson spent one season as an assistant coach with the Greyhounds’ men’s soccer program in 1993. He has also worked for the Indianapolis Public Schools in the Business Magnet Program at Northwest High School for three years.
Johnson has past experience with the Indiana Olympic Development Program, having served as a trainer, assistant coach and head coach for the Indiana ODP teams for more than 10 years. He also coaches for IndyPremier Soccer Club and has an assortment of club coaching history. He holds a USSF ‘A’ License and an NSCAA Premier License, which he received in 2005.
Rachel Fulkerson Assistant Coach
Rachel Fulkerson joined the IUPUI Women’s Soccer staff in summer of 2021. Fulkerson made the jump to the Jaguars after having spent one season with Tennessee Tech Women’s Soccer program as the Assistant Coach. Fulkerson's Indiana ties run deep as she also spent two years on staff at each Indiana State and Rose-Hulman, prior to her season in Cookeville.
Fulkerson played collegiately at Indiana Wesleyan where she was a four-year letter winner and team captain as a senior. She was part of a squad that was ranked as high as No. 4 in the nation and competed in the NAIA National Tournament. She received her undergraduate degree in 2014 and completed her Masters in kinesiology and exercise science at Indiana State in 2018.