#PeopleOfPeace: Kelly Johnson Says Goodbye to WPU

May 31, 2016

That line echoed as William Peace University Athletic Director and Head Women’s Basketball Coach, Kelly Johnson, stood at mid-court in the Hermann Center – a gym he helped renovate and build. He soaked in the moment as it would be one of the last he stood on the WPU court. After more than a dozen years of dedicated service, the long-time AD announced he was leaving the University in March.

In talking with Johnson for about an hour, which isn’t a hard thing to do if you’ve ever met the avid Duke fan, the 61-year-old reiterated that family time was an important factor in making the decision to leave the Pacer program and head back to his native town of Kinston, NC.

“I’m looking forward to heading back home and spending time with family,” Johnson said, as he looked around his office, showing off pictures of his grandson, Fitz, who’s set to turn two in September. “People forget that I turned AD very quickly in my career, so I had very little time to coach. I really look forward to just being a coach again.”

And coach again, he will – at Arendell Parrott Academy in his hometown, where Johnson led the Patriots as varsity boys’ coach from 1996 to 2004, racking up 124 wins, three straight conference titles, and making the NCISAA semifinals three times, with a state championship appearance in 2001.

“I’m going to miss the relationship with my players the most.”

During his 12 years at Peace, Johnson helped usher in a new era of Pacer athletics, as WPU transitioned to a coeducational university in 2012-13. He played a vital role overseeing the addition of men’s basketball, cross country, and golf, which were added in 2012-13; baseball and men’s soccer in 2013-14; and men’s tennis, which debuted in 2014-15.

In addition, Johnson spearheaded significant renovations to the Hermann Athletic Center and also founded the University’s first-ever Pacer Club.

On the court, he produced more than 60 USA South All-Conference and Academic All-Conference selections, while making several conference tournament appearances.

“I learned so much working in this community and I will miss Peace as well as Raleigh as I move back home to spend more time with my family and consider what new possibilities exist for me,” Johnson said. “I want to especially thank my current athletic staff. I could not ask for a more dedicated staff and I appreciate all you have done. I wish everyone at Peace much success and thank you for all of your support these past 12 years. I will always consider myself a Peace Pacer.”

Johnson is the proud father of Brooke (a former Pacer Basketball player), Patrick, and Tate – most of whom live back east. He’s also a dedicated husband to Debbie, who after all these years has remained in Kinston while Johnson coached in Raleigh during the work week.

“I joked with my wife and I told her I’ve been on a 12-year sabbatical,” Johnson chuckled. “I’m just excited to move back home and be with family again.”

For more University news and feature stories, search #PeopleOfPeace on social media or visit: www.peace.edu/news.

 

Give Courageously to Peace

Thanks to the generosity of William Peace University supporters, current and future WPU students have access to the resources needed to learn through immersive experiences, build upon their courage and develop the confidence needed to turn passion into purpose.
Roses float in the campus fountain after an alumni event.
a student uses a laptop on a green bench at William Peace University

Give Now

Support future Pacer success. 

 

Become a Corporate Partner

Find out how your organization can collaborate with Peace.

Visitors

Whether you’re hoping to attend WPU or hosting an event, you’re welcome to visit WPU! 

Wedding at WPU
Phantom in downtown Raleigh

Conferences and Events

Host your conference, event, or wedding at WPU.

Location and Directions

Get directions, our address, a campus map, and hotel discount information.

Counselors

Learn about WPU and all it has to offer so you can guide your students to the best fit for their next step. 

Admissions Info

Meet and connect with our Admissions team.

Schedule a Visit

Learn about our processes and schedule a visit.

Alumni

Our success as an institution has always been rooted in the strength of our community. As an integral part of that community, we invite alumni to stay informed and connected. 

Alumni outside at WPU
Roses float in the campus fountain after an alumni event.
Building at WPU

Get Involved

Stay connected to Peace.

Donate

Contribute to the success of future Pacers.

General Info

Read about alumni benefits.

Parents

Families are an integral part of a student’s path to WPU. Find answers to your questions here. 

Commencement
Two WPU students work together on a project during class

Student Success: Why Choose WPU?

Learn about the value of an education at WPU.

Billing and Due Dates

Questions about your student’s enrollment or billing? Start here.

Current Students

Already a Pacer? Here’s your quick path to information, links, and other useful stuff.

Group of students talking
Students high-fiving each other

Current Students

Missing something? Can’t find a link? Start here.

Current Parents and Families

Is your student a Pacer? Here’s where to get information and contacts.

Future Students

Welcome to William Peace University! We offer programs for both traditional undergraduate students and online/hybrid classes through our School of Professional Studies. Find your path to WPU here.

Three WPU students walk through a brick archway on campus.
Three students discuss their work during class.
Older gentleman at a computer

First Time in College

Your WPU education will help you build practical skills for your future.

Transfer Students

Transfer up to 90 credit hours from any institution. 

Working Professionals

Enhance your existing career.

A WPU student works on a video game in the new esports and gaming lab on campus.
Woman in army green typing at computer
Two female international students

Readmission

If you previously attended WPU and are ready to return, start here. 

Veteran/Military

Learn more about how to apply the GI bill.

International Students

Find out how to attend WPU.

About

WPU has a long history as one of the city’s oldest universities. Find out more about our institution in the heart of downtown Raleigh. 

2023 Student Showcase
Staff Pumpkin Painting

History

Through 160 years, William Peace University has evolved to meet the changing needs of the students we serve.

Leadership

William Peace University is a small, private institution located in downtown Raleigh, NC.

Work at WPU

Join our team and see why William Peace University was voted one of the Triangle’s Best Places to Work!

DEI Staff
Design Rendering of WPU

Contact Us

Contact the University

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Learn about DEI at WPU.

Mission, Vision, and Values

Learn about WPU core tenets. 

Student Life

Whether you want to know more about on-campus events or see our residence halls, get a sense of what life is like as a student at WPU.

WPU Student on bouncy slide
A WPU student sits with his friends while eating at Belk dining hall.
WPU Safety Officer

Clubs, Activities and Events

Discover what’s fun at WPU.

Housing & Dining

When people say that WPU “feels like home,” we think that’s the ultimate compliment.

Safety & Security

The Office of Public Safety is committed to providing a community-friendly approach to enhancing campus safety for students, faculty and staff.

Dining room at Peace
A WPU student sits with his friends while eating at Belk dining hall.
Health and wellness at WPU

Athletics

Cheer on your Pacers at their next home game.

Student Support Services

Find out how the WPU team supports the whole you.

Health and Wellness

Learn about physical and mental health services available to students.

Academics

WPU offers a mix of more than 30 degree programs and additional minors. Our courses are four credit hours each, and every course features immersive learning experiences.

A student in WPU's online School of Professional Studies works on her homework.
2023 Internship Showcase

Immersive Learning

Find out about WPU’s unique approach to learning.

Center for Student Success

Peer tutoring, a first-year success program, and an internship program are just part of why Pacers succeed. 

Admissions

Start here to find out how to apply, visit, and learn more about WPU.

Before you apply:

Admissions team
students walking on campus
A student reviews scholarship and payment information in the financial aid office.

Connect with an Admission Couneslor

They’ll be your guide through the process.

Visit Campus

Get a feel for campus life.

Understand Costs

Find out about Financial aid and other options to pay for college.