Sydney Johnson was selected by USA Basketball as team scout for the USA Basketball February 2020 FIBA AmeriCup Qualifying Team. The USA team, comprised primarily of active NBA G League players, recorded a pair of impressive victories over Puetro Rico, winning 83-70 in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and 95-73 in Washington, D.C. In winning the two AmeriCup Qualifying games, the USA squad averaged 89.0 points a game, accumulated an average margin of victory of +17.5 points a game, while defensively limited Puerto Rico to 40.8 percent shooting from the field, 25.0 percent shooting from 3-point, and outrebounding Puerto Rico by 5.0 rebounds a game.
Johnson was head coach at Fairfield University for eight seasons (2011-12 - 2018-19). Johnson joined the Stags program after spending four seasons (2007-08 - 2010-11) as the head coach at his alma mater Princeton University.
While at Fairfield, Johnson was the first coach in 40 years to garner four winning seasons in MAAC play. During his eight years at Fairfield, Johnson’s historical achievements included the most postseason appearances in school history (4 - 2017, 2016, 2013, 2012), most postseason victories in school history (3), first win versus an ACC team in school history (12/21/16 vs Boston College) and tied for the second most winning seasons (five) in school history.
Taking on head coaching duties at his alma mater in 2007, Johnson helped turn around the Princeton program in his four-year stay as the Tigers posted a 6-23 overall record and a 3-11 Ivy League slate in his first season. After improving to 13-14 overall and 8-6 in Ivy play in 2008-09, Johnson led Princeton in season three to its first 20-win season since 2004 when the team finished the year with a 22-9 overall record and advanced to the semifinals of the 2010 College Basketball Invitational. In 2010-11 he led the Tigers to the Ivy League championship and an automatic berth to the NCAA tournament. Princeton took the University of Kentucky to the final seconds before dropping a 59-57 decision in the NCAA tournament second round. It marked the second straight season that the program advanced to postseason play. During his tenure, Johnson owned a 66-53 record as the Tigers' head coach. Under his guidance, Princeton became one of the top defensive teams in the country. The Tigers led the nation in scoring defense during the 2009-10 season, allowing fewer total points (1652) and fewest points per game (53.3) than any other Division I team that year.
Johnson was named the Ivy League Coach of the Year by Collegeinsider.com following the 2008-09 and 2009-10 seasons.
Before taking over the Princeton program, Johnson was an assistant coach at Georgetown University under John Thompson III. He helped the Hoyas advance to the program's first Final Four in 22 years. Georgetown owned a 30-7 record that season, winning the Big East regular season and tournament titles. Georgetown advanced to the postseason in all three of his years as an assistant coach which included two NCAA tournaments and one NIT berth.
Johnson also experienced postseason play as a student-athlete, leading the Tigers to the NCAA tournament during the 1995-96 and 1996-97 seasons. In the 1996 tournament, Princeton upset defending national champion UCLA to advance to the second round. He earned the 1997 Ivy League Player of the Year honors and was an All-Ivy League first team selection in 1995-96 and 1996-97. He is the only three-time captain in Princeton men's basketball history. He earned an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship in 1997, but decided to continue his basketball career overseas.
He was a starter for Gorizia Pallacanestro in Italy and helped the team capture the Italian Second Division championship. The following season, he was part of another championship team as Reggio Calabria won the league title. Johnson moved on to play five more years in the top divisions of Italy and Spain including a two year stint in the Spanish league with Girona Basket and an Italian championship with Siena.