Stan Johnson

Utah basketball coach Jim Boylen has filled one of his open assistant coaching positions with the hiring of Stan Johnson, a 29-year-old assistant coach at Cal State Northridge.

Johnson grew up in Utah, having moved to the Beehive State when he was 10 years old and settling in Taylorsville, where he played high school basketball. He played collegiately at Southern Utah University for three years and was captain of the team for a year.

"I'm very excited about it," said Johnson. "This is a great opportunity to come home to a place I know and am very passionate about. I'm extremely excited about getting Utah back on top of the Mountain West Conference."

Boylen said Johnson will be an asset to the program with his experience coaching in Southern California and his familiarity with the state of Utah.

"He's got great passion, energy and enthusiasm," Boylen said.

"I know having Utah across his chest will mean something to him."

Johnson began his coaching career at Bemidji State in Minnesota, where he transferred for one year after four years at Southern Utah. Then he moved to Southwest Baptist University in Missouri for three years before joining Northridge last year.

He'll begin his duties at Utah Tuesday by recruiting in Southern California.

Johnson played several games at the Huntsman Center when he played for SUU. The most memorable was the 77-70 upset of the Utes in 2000, which was the same season the T-Birds qualified for the NCAA Tournament. He said he was friends with former Ute players Jeff and Britton Johnsen, but was never good enough to play for Utah.

Johnson said he met Boylen briefly last year, but is already familiar with the Utah program because Ute guard Johnnie Bryant has been dating Johnson's younger sister, who is a student at the U.

Boylen, who has been recruiting in the Houston area for several days, expects to add another assistant next week.

The two Utah assistant coaching positions opened up when Marty Wilson left for Pepperdine in late February and Chris Jones went to Utah State earlier this month.