Jon McBride | Posted: 12 Feb 2021 | Updated: 30 Jul 2021

BYU Athletics Hires Whitney Johnson as Associate AD for Student-Athlete Development, Diversity and Inclusion

main image
Whitney Johnson graphic with her face and welcome Whitney Johnson text

PROVO, Utah — BYU Director of Athletics Tom Holmoe today announced the hiring of Whitney Johnson as Associate Athletic Director for Student-Athlete Development, Diversity and Inclusion.

This is a new position to help BYU Athletics in its continuing efforts to best support all of its student-athletes, including in relation to issues of diversity and inclusion.

“We are thrilled to have Whitney joining us in this vitally-important work,” Holmoe said. “Student-athletes are the center of everything we do. Providing them with the support they need is essential. Specifically over the past year, many diversity and inclusion issues have come to light that are prevalent in our nation, community and BYU Athletics family. These are not new issues. They are things we’ve been working on. We must be unified and work diligently to better educate and empower each other, to love one another and respect one another. We are so glad to have Whitney help us do so.”

Johnson will report directly to Holmoe and will be a member of BYU Athletics’ senior leadership team. Her position oversees the strategic vision and program implementation for diversity and inclusion within BYU Athletics, including for minority student-athletes in the core areas of race/ethnicity, international, LGBTQ & SSA, and student-athletes of other faiths.

Johnson brings with her to BYU a wealth of experience in college athletics.

Johnson was a student-athlete on the women’s basketball team at both the University of New Mexico and Southern Utah University. At SUU, Johnson served as the Student Athlete Advisory Committee Vice President. She was academic all-conference at both schools.

Johnson worked at Indiana University, where she specialized in student-athlete development, including diversity and inclusion efforts. She then worked at the NCAA headquarters in Indianapolis in the leadership development department. Among her efforts at the NCAA, she created a mentorship program to aid recently-graduated student-athletes in navigating the athletics industry. Johnson comes to BYU from a position working at the headquarters of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She specifically worked to coordinate worldwide missionary efforts, including conducting team trainings on department policies and procedures, conducting onboarding training, ensuring missionaries were medically cleared to serve in foreign countries and collaborating with church leaders worldwide.

Johnson is a board member of Return on Inclusion and Untold Athletes. She is also an active member of Women Leaders in College Sports. She participated in the 2019 NCAA Common Ground V in Austin, Texas.

“I am extremely honored and grateful to be a part of the BYU family,” Johnson said. “BYU is a notable institution where students come from around the world to feel the love of God and grow in knowledge, ability, potential and excellence. For that to take place, diversity, inclusion, equity and belonging are essential components. The creation of this position is a testament to the vision of Tom Holmoe and his staff and their desire to create the ultimate environment in which student-athletes can succeed. I thank Tom, Keith Vorkink and the BYU community for their trust in me, and for their dedicated, focused effort to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). I look forward to partnering with student-athletes, coaches and administrators as we create long-lasting change, increase education and awareness surrounding DEI, and enhance unity. Though the nation has suffered difficult times, the potential for growth and improvement is tangible, and I’m excited to help BYU Athletics lead the charge. ”

Johnson has a bachelor’s degree in organizational leadership from UNM and an MBA from SUU. She served as a full-time missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Mexico.

BYU Athletics is striving to follow the charge of President Russell M. Nelson, president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, BYU’s sponsoring institution, as he has instructed members of the church to “lead out” in abandoning attitudes of prejudice and to root out racism.