By Derick Thornton, FSU Sports Information
Feb. 28, 2006
Holly Johnson should be proud of the shape she and her fellow seniors are leaving the Florida State women’s basketball program.
“It’s cool to be a senior,” Johnson said. “I remember freshmen year like it was yesterday. I never thought I would graduate and get done, but it is pretty cool to sit back and look at the past four years.”
As one of the four senior captains, Johnson has helped the program evolve into an ACC force. Florida State is currently fourth in the ACC and needs just one more ACC win to clinch a first-round bye in the ACC Tournament. She’s an important member of a class that has led FSU to seven or more ACC victories in four consecutive seasons and helped Florida State to three top four finishes in the league. During Johnson’s career, FSU has averaged more than 18 wins per season.
“The four years here have been amazing,” Johnson said. “There has definitely been some up and downs throughout my four years, but throughout, the coaches have always stuck by the players and have always been encouraging. The four seniors have really helped to pave the way for the future of the program and I think it has been really cool with some of the records we have set.”
The Phoenix, Ariz., native chose Florida State over UCLA due mainly to the influence of Coach Sue Semrau and the family atmosphere that the program represented.
“After my visit here, I really realized what the coaches were all about and how it was a family atmosphere and it that it would be a place that I could enjoy and have fun,” the 5-8 guard said.
The Seminoles are on pace to make back-to-back appearances in the NCAA Tournament for only the second time in the program’s history and the first since the 1990 and 1991 seasons. Postseason play, however, is nothing new to Johnson. She has been to either the WNIT or NCAA Tournament each year she has been a Seminole.
Johnson earned the nickname `clutch’ last season by hitting big shots when the team needed her most, including sinking a three-pointer in the final seconds to defeat Georgia Tech, a 10-foot jumper with seconds left to beat Wake Forest and making two free throws to seal a double overtime victory at Virginia Tech. Her competitive nature developed as a child.
“I grew up around sports with my brother and my dad,” she said. “The three of us were very competitive, whether playing pool-basketball, ping pong or cards, I think that is where I got my competitive drive from.”
Her family genes have also played a part in her professional future.
“My grandfather is a Hall of Fame broadcaster in Ohio,” Johnson said. “He started with all of the high school sports, like basketball. Then he did the Cincinnati Royals, Cincinnati Reds and even a little hockey.”
Johnson, who has done work with Seminole Productions at Florida State, is currently an intern in the sports department at WCTV in Tallahassee and has her sights set on following in her grandfather’s footsteps.
“I really want to go into broadcasting or color commentating,” Johnson said. “I want to focus on sports and believe the best avenue is sports broadcasting.”
Johnson’s steady play this season has been key in the team’s success. She leads the squad in assists, free throw percentage, three-pointers made, and with a team-high 33.6 minutes per game, is fourth in the ACC in minutes played. She said she wants to end her playing career on a high note and this team’s determination makes her believe she will.
“This team can go far,” Johnson said. “If we play defense, we are going to win basketball games. As long as we keep playing defense and get the hustle plays, we can go very far.”