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FCA Presents Wisconsin Badgers' Mark Johnson with John Olver Character in Coaching Award

Published on May 16, 2024


FCA proudly presents Wisconsin women’s hockey head coach, Mark Johnson with the John Olver Character in Coaching Award.

This award is presented annually to a hockey coach who exemplifies the FCA Core Values of Integrity, Serving, Teamwork, and Excellence — both on and off the ice. In 2021, Coach John Olver himself was honored as the inaugural recipient of the award.

“FCA congratulates Mark Johnson on receiving the 2024 John Olver Character Coach Award for his impact on God’s Kingdom and commitment to the hockey community,” said Shane Williamson, FCA President and CEO. “His players become not just better athletes, but better people, through the care, excellence and servant-leadership from Coach Johnson and his hockey legacy.”

Photo Sep 07 2016, 2 13 41 PMCoach Johnson became a Christian when he was a young man in the NHL. In the decades that have followed, Mark has walked with the Lord and been an active church member. Recently, Mark and his wife, Leslie, founded a ministry called Agape Ranch, which is scheduled to open next year. The ministry will utilize animals, land, and people to help children and families learn of hope in Jesus.

Among many other areas of ministry and church involvement, Mark and his wife Leslie have invested in young people through speaking at FCA events. In December 2023, Mark and Leslie were co-speakers at the Waunakee (WI) High School FCA “Parents Night” Huddle. The Huddle was hosted at an event venue and parents were invited to join the students. Mark and Leslie shared their testimonies of trusting Christ as their Savior, and they answered questions from the group. In February 2024, Mark and Leslie helped to orchestrate an event for Stoughton (WI) FCA. Stoughton FCA brought a large group to a game, toured the locker room afterward, and spent time with Mark and Leslie.

Josh Anderson, FCA Wisconsin State Director remarked, “Coach Johnson is attentive to the hearts of his players and their individual development on and off the ice. While Mark is highly competitive, he is also patient and kind. He conducts himself in ways that are pleasing to the Lord and points others to Christ by the way he lives and interacts with coaches, players, officials, and everyone around him.”

Under Coach Johnson’s leadership, Wisconsin has compiled seven NCAA titles, nine Western Collegiate Hockey Association playoff titles and nine WCHA regular-season crowns — he is the winningest coach in NCAA collegiate women’s hockey history. Leading an astonishing coaching career, Johnson held the title of head coach for the 2010 U.S. Olympic Women’s Ice Hockey team that won a silver medal in Vancouver. Coach Johnson has been inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame as both a player and a coach. His accomplishments are truly too many to list.

“I am truly honored and humbled to be selected as the recipient of this year’s John Oliver Character Coach Award,” said Coach Johnson. “It means the world to me and will inspire me to continue striving for excellence and making a positive impact in everything I do. It also serves as a testament to the support and encouragement I have received along my journey. I am grateful beyond words.”



Photos courtesy of University of Wisconsin Athletics