Former Ripon College athletic director dies at age 53

Published: Jun. 14, 2019 at 3:47 PM CDT
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The Ripon College community is mourning the death of former athletic director Julie Heinz-Johnson.

Johnson, 53, died Thursday in Ripon.

, the Red Hawks women's basketball team won four Midwest Conference championships and qualified for the NCAA tournament four times. Her 303-237 record makes her the team's winningest coach and only one of four MWC coaches with more than 300 career victories. She was named Coach of the Year by the Midwest Conference four times and the NCAA Central Region in 2004.

She was inducted into the Ripon College Hall of Fame in 2005. Five years later, she became the college's first female athletic director.

Johnson was hired in 1990 when she an assistant basketball coach at South Dakota State University. She coached basketball, softball and golf and taught exercise science.

"She was an incomparable role model, whose leadership will be felt for generations to come. All of the Ripon College family mourns her loss, and our thoughts are with Steve, Hunter, and her entire family," acting college president Ed Wingenbach wrote in a statement Friday.

The college says there will be a visitation at the Willmore Center on campus next Friday, June 21, at 4 p.m., followed immediately by a public celebration of life service at 6 p.m.

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