“I am humbled and honored to be chosen to start the Seahawks men’s lacrosse program,” said Johnston. “My experience building upstart programs has taught me the importance of laying the proper foundation for a new program, and I know we will establish a dynamic lacrosse program at Keiser University. I’m thankful to all of the administration for allowing me the opportunity to be part of a great University and academic program, and I’m looking forward to creating something special here in South Florida.”
Johnston comes to Keiser from Emmanuel College in Georgia where he started up the men’s and women’s lacrosse programs in 2013 and transitioned them from NAIA to NCAA Division II. In just the second year of the program and last year of NAIA, the team earned a 9-7 record. The 2015 season marked the first year as an NCAA DII member and the first year in a Conference. Despite having only one senior, the team finished fifth in the conference.
“We are excited to add Coach Johnston to our staff,” said Director of Athletics Nick Davidson. “He has a great deal of experience in starting a collegiate lacrosse program. Patrick is well connected to South Florida and will be very capable of getting our program off the ground and running by this fall. Coach Johnston is a great person and truly cares about developing his players into men and I look forward to watching him grow this program.”
During his time with the Lions, he had 19 different student-athletes earn Conference Carolina’s Academic All-Conference (3.2 GPA or higher) and had a team GPA of a 3.2. The team participated in over 300 community service hours in their local, state, and national communities this year alone. His team earned the Emmanuel College Athletics International Athlete of the year and Emmanuel College Athletics Male Athlete Break-Out Performance in 2015. Also he had two SELC All-Conference Players.
“I have spent the past four years building the men’s lacrosse program from the ground up at Emmanuel. I know the foundation established will continue to yield positive results on and off the field but the opportunity to move my family back to South Florida along with the academic and athletic excellence of the Keiser University makes this a perfect pairing,” said Johnston.
Coach Johnston said on what the plan is for the team and how to accomplish it is, “As with any organization, the foundation is the most crucial aspect– this is why it is important to establish a program built on Keiser’s academic and athletic standard of excellence. Our main objectives are for our student-athletes to 1) graduate with a degree that will help them be profitable and productive, 2) become a man of honor and integrity that will help them become a great husband and father, and 3) excel on the field and become the best player they can be – – all of these elements are part of who we are, what we will talk about, and what we will demand from each other as a team. We will accomplish each of these elements through our dedication, discipline and determination to Keiser, the Seahawk nation, and one another.”
In three years as an assistant coach and defensive coordinator for Palm Beach Atlantic, Johnston helped the Sailfish reach the postseason for the first time in school history. He mentored 16 All-Conference players and two All-Americans. The Sailfish defense lowered their goals against average from 13.7 per game to 10.2 per game against some of the nation’s top competition nonetheless.
He began his coaching career as an assistant coach and defensive coordinator at his alma mater the University of Alabama for one season before getting his first head coaching job at Cardinal Newman High School. As the head coach, Patrick guided them to a 36-15 overall record in his three seasons and had eight players go on to play collegiately at the NCAA level and ten players earn All-State Honors in Florida.
Patrick began his playing career at Culver Military Academy before going on to play four seasons for the University of Alabama. In his junior and senior year, he was named an All-Conference defender and Academic All-American. After graduating, Johnston went on to play for the Magic City Men’s Post-Collegiate lacrosse club and Treasure Coast Post-Collegiate lacrosse team in Palm Beach County.
Johnston earned his BS in education from the University of Alabama and his MA in English from the School of Letters program at Sewanee: The University of the South. Patrick is married to Courtney and has one daughter Lydia.