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Erica Johnson named as the Newton Lady Rams' new head coach
Erica Johnson

A new era of Lady Rams’ softball has begun with Newton’s hire of Erica Johnson as the team’s head coach.

The hire was announced during the offseason. Johnson will be in the position most-recently held by Virginia Tucker-Smith, who coached the team the last five seasons.

In her time spent with the team and school so far, Johnson spoke to the warm welcome she recioeved from the program and what intrigued her about the opportunity.

“[It was] the amount of support I have been receiving from administration on down to the parents,” Johnson said. “I felt welcomed since day one and I couldn't be more grateful for the opportunity to lead this team.”

Prior to taking the position with the Lady Rams, Johnson was the head coach for the Heritage Lady Patriots for the previous four seasons. Johnson led the Lady Patriots to the state tournament in her first season at the helm in 2020.

Johnson's coaching career began in 2012, when she volunteered at Paine College. A year later, she was hired on as an assistant coach,

Following her time at Paine College, Johnson coached Greene County and Mount Zion for three years each. In 2019, Johnson was named as the Region 4-AAAAAA Coach of the Year for the Lady Bulldogs.

As to the style of her team, Johnson described it as, “Competitive and hard working.” “We're going to do what is necessary to compete and win games,” Johnson said.

In her time spent with the team so far, Johnson spoke about the group’s buy-in.

“My interactions have been great with the players,” Johnson said. “I am big on commitment and I have 29 total players between JV and varsity and at least 25 have been coming to daily practices. My focus is to get them to change their mindsets and buy in to where I am trying to take this program. Ultimately, the goal is to be in Columbus [at] the end of October.”

With many more weeks of offseason workouts ahead, Johnson feels that the results later in the year will be a product of the work they do now.

“[We want] hard work [and] dedication,” Johnson said. “Champions are made in the offseason. If we work hard as a team and commit to the process and program, we will be headed in the right direction.”