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About SOAR

Support, Openness, Advocacy and Renewal

Welcome to SOAR, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing a platform for women coaches to elevate their voices and engage in meaningful discussions about gender issues. Founded by Tonya Johnson, Head Volleyball Coach at LSU, SOAR is committed to creating an environment that fosters a strong and intimate community of support for female coaches. SOAR believes in inspiring, empowering, and connecting female coaches by providing them with a safe and inclusive space to share their knowledge, experiences, and ideas. Our mission is rooted in four core principles, represented by the acronym SOAR: Support: Devoted to developing a community of trust, where women coaches can find encouragement, guidance, and understanding from their peers. Through mentorship, collaboration, and resource sharing, we strive to uplift one another in both personal and professional endeavors. Openness: We wholeheartedly embrace honest and open dialogue as a catalyst for growth and change. SOAR encourages courageous conversations about the challenges and triumphs unique to women in coaching. By fostering an environment of transparency, we aim to challenge societal norms and break down barriers for future generations. Advocacy: SOAR is dedicated to promoting dialogue around the issues that women face in the coaching profession. We actively advocate for gender equality, equity, and diversity in sports, aiming to create lasting change within the industry. By amplifying women's voices and experiences, we strive for greater representation and opportunities for all. Renewal: At SOAR, we understand the importance of revitalizing one's passion for coaching and life. Through engaging events, workshops, and rejuvenating experiences, we aim to reignite the excitement and joy that drew women coaches to their profession in the first place. We believe in supporting the well-being and personal growth of our members, empowering them to thrive both on and off the field. Join us at SOAR as we embark on a transformative journey together - creating a brighter future for women in coaching. Together, we can SOAR above limitations, shatter glass ceilings, and champion the power of female leadership.

About Our Founder

Head Coach Tonya Johnson, LSU Women's Volleyball 


Tonya Johnson, a native of Zachary, Louisiana, has had an impressive career in the world of collegiate volleyball. Her journey began as a standout athlete for the Tigers at Louisiana State University, where she earned four letters from 1987 to 1990. After her time at LSU, Johnson made her way to Texas, where she served as the associate head coach and recruiting coordinator for the volleyball team starting in 2014. During her tenure at Texas, Johnson's exceptional recruiting efforts played a crucial role in transforming the program into a dominant force in college volleyball. Prior to her time at Texas, she also held the position of top assistant coach at LSU from 1998 to 2002, where she worked closely with head coach Fran Flory and played a significant role in the Tigers' recruiting responsibilities. In her first season leading the Tigers, Johnson led the team to a 16-14 record, including a 9-9 SEC record with notable victories against ranked opponents. This success resulted in LSU's first winning season since 2019 and their first at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament since 2017. The team also secured their first NCAA Tournament win since 2014. Johnson's coaching prowess was further highlighted when she achieved her 100th career head coaching victory during a match against Texas A&M in November 2022. Johnson's coaching abilities extend beyond the court, as she has also played a role in the academic and community success of her student-athletes. Several of her players have been recognized for their academic achievements, including being named to the College Sports Communicators Academic All-District team. Additionally, Johnson's commitment to community service was acknowledged when one of her players was honored on the SEC Community Service team. Prior to her return to LSU, Johnson had two successful stints at Texas, spanning 14 years. During her time there, the Longhorns reached the Final Four five times, including three appearances in the national championship match. The team claimed eight Big 12 titles and consistently ranked in the Top 5 nationally. Johnson's own collegiate playing career at LSU was equally impressive. She was a four-year letterwinner and played a pivotal role in the Tigers' success, helping them secure Southeastern Conference titles in 1989 and 1990. She also led LSU to its first-ever NCAA Final Four appearance in 1990. In addition to her coaching achievements, Johnson has also made significant contributions to the sport on a national level. She served as the co-head coach of the 2012 U.S. Volleyball National A2 team, which earned a silver medal. Her expertise in recruiting has been recognized, as she played a key role in securing top-ranked recruiting classes during her time at Texas. Before her coaching career, Johnson taught at Wellington Landings Middle School in Boca Raton, Florida, and also served as an assistant coach at Olympic Heights High School. She also guided the Florida Gold Coast club team.

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