Fairfield Women’s Basketball Staff Update

Fairfield University Women’s Basketball Head Coach Carly Thibault-DuDonis has announced the hiring of Erik Johnson, Erika Brown, and Blake DuDonis as assistant coaches to comprise the 2022-23 coaching staff. The trio brings knowledge and expertise from various positions in their career, including a combined 13 seasons of collegiate head coaching experience.

“I am thrilled to announce the addition of three incredible assistant coaches and servant leaders,” Thibault-DuDonis said. “We have been intentional to surround our student-athletes with not only great human beings, but coaches who will invest time and energy into their development as basketball players and as people. Our coaching staff will model a collaborative team environment, a consistent positive energy, and a culture of empowerment for each individual within our program to become the best version of themselves.”

Erik Johnson

Johnson brings 24 years of coaching experience while most recently serving as the head coach at Boston College for six seasons. Johnson also spent four years as the head coach at Denver, leading the Pioneers to a 72-52 record and a WNIT appearance during his tenure. Denver posted four-straight winning seasons while he was at the helm, the program’s longest streak in 16 years. The Pioneers averaged 62.5 points per game during his tenure and ranked number two in the country in field goal percentage during the 2009-10 season.

During his stay with Boston College, the Eagles also showed an improvement in their shooting by hitting a program record 250 3-pointers and finishing 11th in the country with 8.9 3-pointers per game in the 2014-15 season.

Johnson was also an assistant coach at Boston College, helping the Eagles to a Sweet 16 appearance in the 2006 NCAA Tournament. He also served as the associate head coach at San Diego and four seasons as an assistant coach at Rhode Island.

After his coaching stop at Boston College, Johnson went on to work with Positive Coaching Alliance, a national nonprofit organization that provides online tools and courses to assist young athletes and coaches on and off the field.

Thibault-DuDonis on Johnson: “Erik joins our staff with an impressive resume and a wealth of head coaching experience.  He has an incredible basketball IQ, years of experience in recruiting high-level talent especially in the northeast, and has a passion for impacting those around him in a positive way.  He is not only one of the great teachers of our game, but is an even better person and mentor for myself and our student-athletes.”

Erika Brown

Brown spent last season as an assistant coach at Saint Francis (Pa.) serving as the co-recruiting coordinator while working with the guards and wing players. As the co-recruiting coordinator, she secured five 2022 commitments for the Red Flash all along the east coast. She would act as the team’s academic liaison with the squad maintaining a 3.7 Fall GPA with two student-athletes earning a perfect 4.0 mark. She mentored several student-athletes including the NEC Defensive Player of the Year Jada Dapaa, who finished fourth in the country with 12.3 rebounds per game.

Brown also spent a season as an assistant coach at Harcum College where she was responsible for recruiting, scouting opponents, and skill development. She would assist in signing seven incoming freshmen at Harcum including point guard Jasmyn Jefferies, who was an All-Region 19 Second Team selection.

She was also the video coordinator at Stony Brook when the Seawolves went 28-3 and won the America East Championship. Her coaching spots also include two seasons with Florida International University as the assistant director of basketball operations and video coordinator.

Brown played her collegiate career at the University of Delaware where she scored 1,402 points for the Blue Hens while earning three All-CAA honors. She was named a team co-captain her senior year and was honored with the Joyce Perry Coaches Award. She was voted the team MVP as their leading scorer in the 2014-15 season where her .436 3-point shooting percentage finished second in Delaware single season program history behind Elena Delle Donne. She would get her coaching start at her alma mater as the Blue Hens’ operations intern.

Thibault-DuDonis on Brown: “Erika is a go-getter. She has an incredible work ethic, an infectious energy, and an instant ability to develop rapport with student-athletes, recruits, families, and colleagues.  Her ability to recruit high-level prospects, form meaningful relationships, develop talent specifically at the guard position, and mentor our student-athletes will have an immediate impact on our program here at Fairfield.”

Blake DuDonis

DuDonis is coming off a three-year stint as the head coach of the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, leading the Falcons to their highest win total in six years. He would lead the Falcons to three victories over teams receiving votes in the Top 25 national poll. DuDonis installed an up-tempo brand of basketball that saw the Falcons connect on a program record 206 3-pointers in 2022, the fourth most in WIAC history. The Falcons also led the league in possessions per 40 minutes during the 2021-22 campaign, helping the team improve their scoring average by 17 points. Despite the increase in possessions, the Falcons ranked in the top-10 in the country the past two seasons in fewest turnovers per game.

DuDonis also served as an assistant coach at the University at Buffalo where he helped the Bulls to their first-ever appearance in the WNIT. He also assisted in the academic advisement of their student-athletes in route to a team GPA of 3.397, the highest in the department that year and highest in program history. Also working with the post players, Buffalo led the conference in offensive rebounds, total rebounds, steals, and blocked shots.

DuDonis also spent two seasons at his alma mater Gardner Webb where he served as the team’s recruiting coordinator and also worked with the post players. He was in charge of the development of Catrina Green, who became the first player in program history to reach both 1,000 career points and 1,000 career rebounds.

He started his 11-year coaching career at Merrimack as an assistant coach in 2011-12. He was the team’s academic advisor with the squad holding a 3.53 GPA, the 12th-highest in the country.

His has also served as an advanced regional scout for the Washington Mystics and also a national evaluator for Blue Star Basketball, the oldest and largest national evaluation organization in women’s basketball.

Thibault-DuDonis on DuDonis: “Blake brings a wide range of experience and perspective to our staff. He has not only coached and recruited at every collegiate level, but has worked his way up through the ranks as a manager and practice player, a national evaluator, media member, an assistant coach, and a head coach. His genuine care and investment in the well-being of our student-athletes, as well as his ability to develop talent especially at the post position will be invaluable to our program.”

The trio will join the coaching staff of Head Coach Carly Thibault-DuDonis, who will be entering her first season with the Stags. Fairfield will be entering the season as the reigning MAAC Champions, capturing the program’s fourth MAAC Championship and fifth NCAA Tournament appearance last year.


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