Clinton High School has named Lorri Johnson its new volleyball coach.
Johnson takes the reins of the Lady Dragons program from longtime head Coach Susan Zellner, and Johnson said she knows that she has some big shoes to fill.
“I know that Susan has done a lot for the community, and she’s done a lot for kids as far as helping them get college scholarships, and Susan definitely deserves respect,” Johnson said. “I’m excited to get started.”
Johnson has spent the last two seasons as Clinton Middle School’s coach. Before landing with the Lady Hawks, she coached at Knoxville Central High School.
With the Lady Bobcats, Johnson sparked some enthusiasm into a dormant program. Central reached the Region 2-AA Tournament in 2018.
Johnson said she’s eagerly anticipating her new position with the Lady Dragons.
“I’m excited and ready to go and I know Susan had some success when we were in (Class) AAA, and we were the smallest school in (Class) AAA,” said Johnson, who also previously coached volleyball and tennis at Soddy-Daisy. “I don’t know much about the tradition and our championships, but I hope to learn more when I go there.
“I’m excited because I’ll have some players that I’ve coached here. I haven’t met the girls who are already on the team. I look forward to meeting the team.”
Johnson is looking to be competitive early in her tenure at Clinton. She helped Knoxville Central reverse its fortunes out of the gate and she’s looking to make that same impact with the Lady Dragons.
“I believe that you change a culture early,” she said. “I believe that you teach work ethic in high school athletics. That’s what high school athletics is about.
“You build the work ethic and the college scholarship opportunities will come and if (the players) take them, it’s great.”
Johnson is looking to challenge crosstown rival Anderson County next season.
“I feel like we will compete with Anderson County and I think we can compete with everybody,” Johnson said.
“We have a schedule and we’re going to play against some (Class) AAA schools and we’ll schedule some tournaments.”