CCYMCA and Larkin’s Place announce CEO

Contact: Tim Johnson, Board of Directors Chair

Champaign County YMCA and Larkin’s Place at the Y ANNOUNCE NEW CEO


Mark Johnson to Lead “The New” YMCA

Champaign – March 31, 2009 – The Champaign County YMCA and Larkin’s Place at the Y today named Mark Johnson, the former University of Illinois wrestling coach, as its new Chief Executive Officer.

“Our YMCA is undergoing a time of tremendous revitalization,” said YMCA Board Chair Tim Johnson.  “Mark’s record of success, strong leadership style and passion for the YMCA mission make him a natural fit to help our Y continue to grow and serve the community at this critical time.”

Mark Johnson’s appointment is the next step in the rebuilding of the Champaign County YMCA, a process that began last November with the naming of a new Board of Directors and merging of Larkin’s Place to create the nation’s first all-inclusive community recreation center.

”The YMCA has been such an important part of my life, as it has for so many in the Champaign County community,” Mark Johnson said.  “I met my wife Linda at a YMCA.  Growing up, some of my teammates in school, had siblings with special needs and we became their family, friends, teachers, and protectors.  Now, I see enormous potential for rebuilding this YMCA into a uniquely positive force in our community of which all can be proud.  I am committed to helping make that vision become reality.”

Using the international YMCA mission as a guide – “to put Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind, and body for all,”– the new leadership of the Champaign County YMCA and Larkin’s Place at the Y are moving forward with a vision for world class programs and services in the coming years and facilities to match.

More about the “New” YMCA

The Champaign County YMCA and Larkin’s Place at the Y is committed to strengthening and enriching the development of kids, adults, families, and the community.  Through health and fitness, youth programs, family activities, and other resources for people of all ages and abilities, we help build a healthy spirit, mind, and body for all.  Our core values of caring, honesty, respect, and responsibility are at the heart of everything we do.

Larkin’s Place at the Y (LP) will consist of programs and recreational facilities designed for those with disabilities along with their families and friends.  LP will be designed and built using the principles of Universal Design (UD), which promotes equal opportunity for use by individuals regardless of age or ability. Incorporating LP into the Y seeks to maximize the efficiency of community recreational facilities and insure that the entire community is served.

The YMCA is a membership organization, open to people of all faiths, ethnicities, abilities, ages, and incomes.  Anyone can join. The YMCA and Larkin’s Place at the Y values and embraces the diversity of all people in the community.  For those unable to pay, financial assistance is available




Johnson Fast Facts

It is impossible to ignore the success that Mark Johnson has had during his 17 years at Illinois.  In 1993, he took over a program that had posted two winning seasons in 10 years and has since transformed Illinois into a national power, having posted 17 straight winning seasons and 13 top-15 finishes.

• In 2005, Illinois won the Big Ten Championship for the first time since 1952.

• Led Illinois to a No. 1 national ranking in 2004.

• Johnson was named the National Wrestling Coaches Association Coach of the Year in 1995 and was the Big Ten Coach of the Year in 2001 and 2005.

• The 2005-06 season marked the third year in a row the Fighting Illini have brought home the Midlands Tournament team title.  The Illini join Iowa and Iowa State as the only teams to accomplish the three-peat.

• Johnson has led Illinois to 13 Top-15 finishes and 10 Top-10 finishes at the NCAA Wrestling Championships in the last 15 years.

• Matt Lackey became the seventh NCAA Champion for Johnson at Illinois when he won his title in 2003. He joins Adam Tirapelle (2001), John Lockhart (2001), Carl Perry (2000), Eric Siebert (1998), Ernest Benion, Jr. (1995) and Steve Marianetti (1995).

• In the last 15 years, Illinois has had 45 All-Americans, 30 of which came over the last 10 seasons.  The five All-Americans in 2005 and 2004 ties the school record set in 1948.

• During Johnson’s 17-year tenure, UI has had an impressive 120 NCAA qualifiers, including 10 in 1995, 2000 and 2006, and nine in 1998, 1999, 2001, 2002, 2005, and 2009.


The Johnson File

University of Illinois

• Career Record: 223-48-5 (.817)

• Record at Illinois: 203-44-3 (.818)

• Head coach with the most Illinois wins, NCAA Champions,
All-Americans, and NCAA Qualifiers


College Coaching Experience

• Illinois, head coach (1992-2009)

• Oregon State, head coach (1990-92)

• Iowa, assistant coach (1982-90)

• Iowa, graduate assistant (1978-80)



• Big Ten Coach of the Year (2005, 2001)

• NWCA All-Star Meet Head Coach (2002)

• Quad City Sports Hall of Fame (2000)

• IWCOA Man of the Year (1999)

• NWCA National Coach of the Year (1995)

• W.I.N. Magazine National Coach of the Year (1995)

• Pac-10 Coach of the Year (1992)

• Illinois Wrestling Hall of Fame (1987)

• NWCA National Assistant Coach of the Year (1986)


Wrestling Experience

• Olympic Team, 1980

• USA Wrestling Team

• National Wrestling Champion (Twice)

• Two-time All-American (1976-77)

• B.S. in education, University of Michigan, 1977


International Coaching Experience

• USA National Coaching Staff member

• Olympic Sports Festival, head coach (1991 & 1996)

• USA Olympic Team, assistant coach (1988)

• World Espoir Team, head coach (1987)

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to CCYMCA and Larkin’s Place announce CEO

  1. Jen says:

    It’s a beautiful day that no amount of rain could put a damper on.

  2. Tracey says:

    My heart is smiling for Larkin and all of those who have been waiting so patiently.

  3. Melanie says:

    This is great news….so excited of what is to come of LP!

  4. Dana Robinson says:

    Great choice in Mark to lead the YMCA. A loss for the wrsetling world and in particular Illini Wrestling, but a gain for Champaign County YMCA. Mark is a great person and good leader. My wife and I will pray for both organizations and for Mark and Linda and they shift to a new career involving christian Fellowship.

  5. Jen Harbison says:

    Congrats – Your hard work and that of all invovled is paying off! You continue to inspire me!

Leave a Reply