As the only coach in the seven-year history of the college’s softball program, Ashley Johnston has the Lady Cardinals in a championship frame of mind.
In 2013, the Lady Cardinals posted a school record 33 wins and qualified for the national tournament for the first time with a regional runner-up finish. Last year, the Lady Cardinals posted a 31-win season and came within a single win of returning to St. George, Utah for the national tournament.
Returning to the national tournament and having a chance to win a NJCAA title is the ultimate goal for the Lady Cardinals. The first goal is the college’s first-ever conference championship.
“That (conference championship) is our No. 1 goal this year,” Johnston said. “If we accomplish that, getting to back to the national tournament will take care of itself. We want a conference championship.”
Johnston, who oversaw the implementation of the Lady Cardinal softball program in the fall of 2008, came to TVCC from York, Nebraska, where she was a head coach for one year. While at York, she led the Lady Panthers to a fourth-place conference standing and a second-place conference tournament finish.
Johnston has led the Lady Cardinals to 146 wins. She owns 158 career coaching wins.
She is no stranger to East Texas she took her first coaching job as an assistant coach at Paris Junior College in 2005. She helped the Lady Dragons to their first-ever Region XIV tournament appearance, where the team placed third.
After Paris, Johnston moved on to be an interim head coach at College of the Desert in Palm Springs, California. The team placed third in the Foothill Conference that year.
Johnston is a native of West Monroe, Louisiana, where she played for the West Monroe Rebels. In 1998, Johnston won her first state softball title.
She played in the Region XIV Conference while a student athlete at Bossier Parrish Community College. She graduated in 2003 with her associate’s degree.
After moving on to Alva, Oklahoma, Johnston played for Northwestern Oklahoma State University. She graduated in 2005 with a bachelor’s in physical education. She completed her master’s degree at Texas A&M-Commerce while coaching at Paris.
“It’s obvious she has great knowledge of the sport and a commitment of doing things the right way”, TVCC President Dr Forgey said. “Her outlook on success goes beyond the field and carries into the classroom.”