Jodi Johnson entering senior season at AU



Jodi Johnson attempts a layup against the Davenport panthers.

Niko Scarlatos

Collegiate athletes experience a lot in four years, and many live through moments they will never forget.

In her senior season playing for the Ashland University women’s basketball team, forward/guard Jodi Johnson has seen it all. From both winning and losing national championships to being the Division II Player of the Year, Johnson’s time here at AU is something that will not be forgotten.

From the beginning of the recruitment process, Johnson knew that AU was the perfect place for her. It was an easy choice for her to come and play basketball at a place she now calls home.

“It has been an unbelievable experience playing here,” Johnson said. “From the start of the recruiting process, I just knew this was the perfect fit for me and in my three years here so far, it has not proven me wrong.”

Senior guard Renee Stimpert has been here through it all with Jodi. The chemistry that the two bring to the table is what makes the duo so lethal.

“We just both have a huge desire to win,” Stimpert said. “At practice, we go so hard against each other because we’re competitive, but in the end we just want to do whatever we can to win.”

Both Jodi and Renee were key factors in Ashland’s 2017 national championship season, a team that went 37-0 and seemed unstoppable. Being a part of such a historic team gave the two freshman at the time many learning experiences that they will carry with them forever.

“We loved each other more than just teammates and always wanted to be on the floor,” Stimpert said. “That was a year I will remember forever.”

Johnson, who had already been to the top before, winning a state championship in high school, encountered her unforgettable moment at AU early on.

Johnson was named GLIAC Player of the Year in the 2017-2018 season.

“I came here with the mindset of winning a national championship from the winning culture here,” added Johnson. “Winning it in my freshman year allowed me to push myself to strive for it every other year for the rest of my career.”

Despite rising to the top her freshman year, Johnson has not slowed down one bit.

“I think just the energy we have as a team and coming in everyday wanting to get better has helped me improve my game individually as well as a team,” she said. “Just having that motivation year after year and wanting that national championship every single season. That’s what drives us the most.”

Head coach of women’s basketball Kari Pickens, who is in her second season at the helm for the Eagles (five seasons as assistant head coach prior), admires the leadership that Johnson adds to such a unique group of women.

“She is always taking care of herself, making sure she is able to be the best version of herself,” Pickens said. “She has constantly been a positive influence to our team. She is everyone’s biggest ‘hype-man,’ while also being a big planner. She lets the team know when and where they need to be from an outside perspective, it might not seem like much, but for a coach I really appreciate it. It helps our team remain more organized.”

Pickens admits that after three years with Jodi, she has learned a lot and been influenced by her time on the court.

“One of the biggest things I have learned from Jodi is that every player needs to be coached differently,” she said. “She has certainly taught me how to coach different people the way they need to be coached.”

The Eagles are ready for one more ride in the 2019-20 season with their leader and friend right beside them.

“She is a one of a kind friend and a one of a kind teammate,” Stimpert said. “It has been a joy to play with her these past four years.”