Former Nevada basketball coach Trent Johnson, who set the foundation for the Wolf Pack's first basketball dynasty, is a head coach once again after accepting Cal State Northridge’s job in an interim role.
Johnson replaces outgoing coach Mark Gottfried, who is on on paid administrative leave pending the completion of the school’s investigation into potential NCAA rules violations under his watch. The 64-year-old Johnson will be the Matadors head coach for the 2021-22 season.
Gottfried and his assistant coaches were placed on leave April 29. The school has not revealed the nature of the potential violations. Gottfried was previously cited by the NCAA for a major infraction during his time at North Carolina State's head coach.
This will be Johnson's fifth tenure as a head coach following stints at Nevada, Stanford, LSU and TCU. He was most recently Cal basketball's Deputy Analyst & Director of Player Development, serving under his former Wolf Pack associate head coach, Mark Fox.
Johnson is 276-264 overall in his career. He took Nevada to its first Sweet 16, going 79-74 overall and 41-43 in the WAC. Johnson left for Stanford following the 2004 Sweet 16 berth, leaving the cupboard full enough the Wolf Pack reached three more consecutive NCAA tournaments and won four more consecutive WAC regular-season titles.
At Stanford, Johnson reached the NCAA Tournament three times in four years, including a Sweet 16 berth in 2008. He left that offseason for LSU, where he had one NCAA Tournament berth in four seasons before leaving for TCU, his last full-time head-coaching job where he went 50-79 overall and 8-64 in the Big 12 in four seasons.
Johnson was interviewed and a finalist for the Wolf Pack's job in April 2019 after Eric Musselman left for Arkansas. That position eventually went to Steve Alford, who is entering his third season with the Wolf Pack. Johnson also has served as an assistant coach at Utah, Washington, Rice and Stanford as well as Louisville where he aided Reno High alum David Padgett in 2017-2018. That also was an interim basis as Padgett took over as head coach for Rick Pitino following alleged NCAA violations within the Cardinals' program.
Cal State Northridge went 9-13 last season, including 5-9 in the Big West (eighth place). In three seasons under Gottfried, the Matadors are 37-51 overall and 22-24 in the Big West. All three seasons have culminated with losing records.