At the age of 47, former Lady Raider basketball player and decorated champion, Noel Johnson, lost her battle with ovarian cancer on Tuesday.
From 1991 to 1995, Johnson was part of one of the most accomplished four-year runs of any Texas Tech team in history. In fact, in that four-year span, Tech had a combined record of 119 wins with only 17 losses. They also had four-straight Southwestern Conference final appearances and victories, while also earning an NCAA Championship during the 1992-1993 season.
As successful as her team was, Johnson proved to be vital to her team’s achievements. Johnson was the starting point guard for the Lady Raiders during their NCAA title run and was the beneficiary of numerous on-court honors. Johnson was a member of the All-Time Lady Raider SWC team and was also a three-time All-SWC selection.
Johnson’s passion was a core aspect of her team’s success, but it did not stop there. Johnson was an extremely skilled shooter from beyond the arc and engrained her abilities in the Tech history books which have remained unsurpassable for over 25 years. For her career, Johnson shot 41.1 percent from the three-point line, which is sixth in school history. One of her most decorated seasons at Tech Included a record-setting senior season where she shot 51.1 percent from beyond the arc, a single-season record that has yet to be grazed by any other member of the Tech program. Johnson has the second-most made threes in program history as well, but her game served to be much more versatile than just sharpshooting.
As a leader and a point guard, the on-court vision of Johnson propelled her to seventh all-time in assists with 410 for her Tech career. The University recognized her talents during her 1994 junior season when she was named Texas Tech Jeannine McHaney Athlete of the Year, an award that “goes annually to an athlete who displays excellence in the classroom, courage on the athletic field, and a never-ending commitment to excellence.” according to Tech Athletics.
In 1995, Johnson graduated from Tech with a bachelor of Exercise and Sports Science degree and a minor in English. She then pursued a master’s degree in education, which she achieved at Texas State in 2002.
Johnson’s illustrious career was cemented into a trio of hall of fame classes, including the Southwest Conference Hall of Fame last fall, the Texas Tech Hall of Fame in 2005 and the Texas High School Basketball Hall of Fame in 2018.
After Johnson’s on-court career was over, she took to the sideline to coach at Midwestern State, where she became the winningest coach in program history after just nine seasons at the helm.
Johnson earned several coaching awards, including the Small College Coach of the Year by the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches in 2013 and the Lone Star Conference Coach of the Year in 2012.
Tech and other Universities alike mourn the passing of Johnson, but her impact on the court and many other communities will reflect a history of happiness and success wherever she was present.