NFA's Johnson leaving to take over Mitchell College cross country programs

New London — Chad Johnson, the highly successful boys' cross country coach at Norwich Free Academy, is leaving to take over the men's and women's programs at Mitchell College.

It will be the collegiate coaching debut for Johnson, who spent the previous 18 years coaching at the high school level, including the last 13 at NFA, his alma mater.

Johnson, who won back-to-back State Open titles running for the Wildcats in 1991 and 1992, led NFA to nine Eastern Connecticut Conference championships during his 13 seasons. They also had an impressive dual-meet record of 123-6.

Prior to returning to NFA, Johnson spent five years as the boys' and girls' coach at Lyman Memorial, leading the Bulldogs to the 2003 Class SS girls' state championship.

Johnson also spent 16 years as an assistant outdoor track and field coach at NFA, helping the boys and girls' teams win eight state titles. He was named the 2009 Connecticut High School Coaches Association Assistant Coach of the Year. Johnson was also NFA's head coach in indoor track (boys and girls) from 2010-14 and guided the girls to the 2013 Class LL state championship.

Johnson, a Franklin native, holds undergraduate degrees in exercise science from UConn and physical education from Eastern Connecticut State University. He also earned a master's degree in second education science from ECSU.

He currently works in the science department at NFA, where a created a kinesiology curriculum that is over of the very few high school level programs in the nation, coverings topics that include athletic training, metabolism, motor learning, exercise physiology, biomechanics and nutrition.

Johnson is also a member of the NFA and Norwich Sports Halls of Fame and is an accomplished master's athlete, winning the 2016 state championships in the 5K, four-mile and half marathon distances.

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