The La Salle men’s basketball team announced Thursday that Kenny Johnson, formerly on the Louisville coaching staff, will be joining the team as an assistant.
“Having the ability to hire a person and coach of Kenny Johnson’s caliber is a home run for La Salle basketball and our campus community,” newly hired head coach Ashley Howard said in La Salle’s release announcing Johnson’s hire.
“Based on my personal relationship with Kenny, I know him to be an individual of the highest integrity, character, intelligence and experience in developing young men as players and people.”
Johnson was fired by Louisville in November after 3 1/2 years on the staff, another casualty of the FBI’s investigation into college basketball and corruption in recruiting.
Johnson’s name didn’t appear in the FBI’s indictment released in September, but he spent a month on paid administrative leave before losing his job as Louisville looked into allegations against him and other coaches, including ex-head man Rick Pitino.
Pitino told the Louisville Courier-Journal this week that he still supports his former assistant, saying, “He’s innocent.”
CBS Sports reports that Johnson is the first coach fired because of the scandal to get a new job at the Division I level.
The FBI’s investigation centered around recruiting corruption, and it focused on two specific schemes. In one, coaches from four schools (Oklahoma State, Auburn, Southern Cal and Arizona) allegedly took bribes and kickbacks from agents in exchange for sending players their way. In the other, the scheme included Louisville and Adidas employees funneling money to a top recruit in exchange for getting him to sign with the school and then with the shoe company once he went pro.
Johnson, who was not charged in the investigation, is known as a top recruiter, according to La Salle’s release. In his first year at Louisville, he put together a top-10 recruiting class. Before joining the Louisville staff, Johnson ran recruitment at Indiana under former head coach Tom Crean. In Bloomington, he had two top-20 classes.