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Marquette Basketball: Assistant Mark Phelps To Arizona, Replaced by Stan Johnson

One guy goes from Milwaukee to Tucson, the other goes from Tempe to Milwaukee.

Now former Marquette assistant Mark Phelps at work in the McGuire Center.
Now former Marquette assistant Mark Phelps at work in the McGuire Center.
Maggie Bean/MarquetteImages.com

A variety of sources have combined to report and confirm that Marquette men's basketball assistant coach Mark Phelps is leaving MU after one season and that he will be replaced by Arizona State assistant coach Stan Johnson.

Phelps' departure for the same position with Arizona was first reported by WildcatAuthority.com, as the Wildcats moved to replace departed assistant coach Damon Stoudamire.  Marquette still hasn't officially announced the departure, nor has Arizona officially announced the hire, but MU did have the job listed as available on their human resources website on this past Tuesday.

Marquette head coach Steve Wojciechowski moved almost as quickly as Arizona to fill his vacancy, as The Arizona Republic's Doug Haller reported that Johnson would be headed to Milwaukee on Friday night.  Matt Velazquez of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel was able to independently confirm the move with Marquette sources.  Johnson was the last remaining holdover from Herb Sendek's staff after Sendek was fired in March.  In an odd bit of connectivity, Johnson was an assistant to Phelps at Drake along with current Marquette assistant coach Brett Nelson.

In Velazquez's article on the personnel moves, he quoted Phelps from an interview conducted on May 11:

"If you think about Wojo, where he came from, what his status was in our game, I honestly felt like he had the resources at Marquette combined with his reputation to hire anybody in the country he wanted to," Phelps said. "You think about Marquette — the tradition, the rich history, the success that's transcended eras and coaches — this is one of the best place for college basketball in America. And then you think about Wojo — two national championships, two gold medals, the exposure to highest level of basketball at Duke, the exposure to the highest level of basketball in the world at USA Basketball — I was like, 'He wants me to come work for him?' It was an honor.

"I was looking for a situation where excellence was the daily goal and this came about, so it was a no-brainer for me. It was immediate, absolutely yes. It was exciting and it's been a great year. It's been everything that I thought it would be."

If you take that quote and substitute "Sean Miller" and "Arizona" for "Wojo" and "Marquette," all of that still makes complete logical sense.  Given that, plus Miller and Phelps working together at North Carolina State in the past, and his move to the desert is anything but a surprise.

Johnson attended Southern Utah University and played basketball there for three seasons, including an NCAA tournament appearance in 2001.  After earning his degree from SUU, Johnson played his final year of eligibility at Division 2 Bemidji State.  He's been an assistant at Utah and Cal State Northridge in addition to Drake and ASU, as well as a head coach at Bemidji State and D2 Southwest Baptist University.

UPDATE:

On May 26, 2015, Marquette officially announced the hiring of Stan Johnson.  Head coach Steve Wojciechowski said the following in a statement:

"I am excited to welcome Stan and his family to the Marquette basketball family," Wojciechowski said. "He is an outstanding person, who has established himself as one of the top young basketball coaches in the country.

"Stan is a tremendous addition to our coaching staff and a tireless recruiter, terrific relationship builder and someone who believes in the values that align with both the University and our men's basketball program."

Johnson said the following in the same statement:

"My family and I are extremely excited about being a part of the University and living up to the high standards of its men's basketball program," Johnson said. "Ingrained in the fabric of the Marquette family are the very things we believe in - people, tradition, and culture.

"I'm humbled at the opportunity to lock arms with one of college basketball's great young coaches in Steve Wojciechowski and I look forward to working shoulder to shoulder with the great staff that's already in place," Johnson added. "Marquette basketball is one of the elite programs in the country and I'm so proud to be a small part of such an amazing place."