It’s senior week, and we are highlighting some of the members of the Class of 2022 as part of our #HumansOfLongwood series. Wherever life after Longwood takes them—a new job, graduate studies or an internship—these students reflect the goals and achievements made possible in a close-knit community that promotes student involvement, values inclusion and nurtures citizen leadership in whatever form it takes.

Will Johnson ’22
HOMETOWN: Midlothian, Virginia

MAJOR: communication studies with concentration in digital media
WHAT'S NEXT: pursuing an MBA at Longwood and serving as a graduate assistant for the men’s basketball team

I have been a manager with the Longwood men’s basketball team all of my four years here. College basketball was always something that excited me, and my family loved watching March Madness, but I had never been part of a basketball team. I wanted to try something new in college, so I reached out to coaches Griff Aldrich and Marty McGillan during new Lancer Days and was asked to be a team manager. Of course, I accepted! I really cannot put into words the impact that this team has had on me as a professional, but more importantly as an individual.

During my first three years, I was exclusively doing manager duties. But this past season I picked up a camera and was given the keys to our social media account. Little did I know what was going to occur. During the season, I recorded footage during practice, travel and games, then created countless videos, pictures and graphics for our social media. Working in sports media has always been a dream of mine, so having this opportunity meant the world to me.

Seeing Coach Aldrich elevate this team to a Big South Championship program in just four years has been absolutely amazing—it has been an incredible journey to watch firsthand. Having the opportunity to document a team that went 26-7 and cut down the nets as Big South Champions was goosebump-worthy. Then being able to travel to Indianapolis with the team in a private jet—to the March Madness tournament that I grew up watching—was truly a full-circle moment for me. 

Professors Jeff Halliday and Dr. Ryan Stouffer have given me so many  opportunities and experiences within the Comm Studies program that have helped me grow in my profession. Coach Ronnie Thomas has also been a huge influence, helping me learn what it’s like to be a full-time social media coordinator and content creator in the sports world. All of these mentors have pushed me to be the best professional I can be, and, without them, I would be a shell of who I am today. My resume is loaded with experience thanks to them, and I feel very confident in my abilities as I enter the post-graduation world. And, through all this hard work, I was able to create an opportunity where I will be coming back as a graduate assistant for our team while I pursue my MBA at Longwood. So I will continue to live my dream and create content for the best team in the Big South.

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