Coaching Whiz

—Submitted photo Fort Dodge graduate matt johnson (white shirt) stands with the Cedar Falls volleyball team after winning the Class 5A state championship in Des Moines on Friday.

CEDAR FALLS — Wherever Matt Johnson goes, success soon follows.

The 1996 Fort Dodge Senior High graduate has been a high school volleyball coach for 14 years, and has already coached in three state championship matches.

On Friday, the former Dodger helped bring home his second title, leading top-ranked Cedar Falls to the Class 5A crown with a three-game sweep over No. 2 West Des Moines Valley.

The Tigers, who lost in the finals last season to Ankeny Centennial, had unfinished business this time around.

“It was great to win the championship, especially after losing in the finals (in 2016),” Johnson said. “We had a sour taste in our mouth, and we were thankful to be in the position to try again.”

Johnson had a 10-year stay in Charles City before taking over in Cedar Falls. He helped both programs secure their first-ever state volleyball crowns.

Johnson now has a 148-22 record in four seasons at Cedar Falls.

While at Charles City, the Comets advanced to the semifinals twice and secured gold in 2012. Johnson’s career 451-138 record means his squads have averaged 32 wins per season during his career as a head coach.

“The girls always put a lot of time in,” Johnson said. “We encourage them to play club volleyball and compete in multiple sports. They do a lot of lifting and go to camps to do as much as they can to get ready.

“My assistants (at Cedar Falls: Adam Timmins, Wade Timmins and Courtney Ronan) are really a great help. They do a lot of stuff so we can be ready and organized for a fast pace.”

Johnson’s oldest brother, John, and middle brother, Tyler, have been high school volleyball coaches as well. Tyler is currently coaching at St. Ansgar. John has coached at Paton-Churdan, St. Edmond and Iowa Central.

Matt, a 2000 University of Northern Iowa graduate, grew up around the sport and found his passion in coaching.

“We grew up in a volleyball family, which I guess is kind of unique with three boys,” Johnson said. “Our parents (Charles and Marilyn, who are both retired from Iowa Central) took us to so many Iowa Central and Fort Dodge sporting events. We were fans of volleyball, and really, all sports.

“They spent a lot of time taking us to events all over.”

Johnson teaches five sections of math and one section of robotics at a junior high school in Cedar Falls.