MC grieves death of popular student-athlete

MC grieves death of popular student-athlete

Aug. 28, 2017

The Maryville College community learned today that Brittany Johnson, a popular student who would have begun her senior year at the school on Wednesday, was killed in a single-vehicle car accident.

The accident happened on Interstate 75 near Cleveland, Tenn., early this morning.

Johnson, a resident of Louisville, Tenn., came to Maryville College in 2014 after graduating from William Blount High School. She was a starter on MC’s women’s basketball team and was majoring in physical education.

“Brittany was a vivacious member of our campus community. She was also a strong contributor to our women’s basketball team, seeing significant playing time on the court. She had an infectious smile, one she shared widely in and out of the gym,” said Dr. Melanie V. Tucker, the College’s vice president and dean of students, in an email to the campus community. “Brittany was also a beloved friend, daughter and sister. So, our loss is felt beyond the campus and into the surrounding community. I ask that you send your thoughts and prayers to Brittany’s family and friends during this heartbreaking time.”

The College plans to hold a prayer service at noon on Wed., Aug. 30, in Humphreys Court. The Samuel Tyndale Wilson Center for Campus Ministry is open for students, faculty and staff members seeking a quiet place for reflection and comfort.

“We are a small, tightly-knit community, which cares deeply about one another. Losses, such as this, affect all of us,” Tucker stated in her email. “Take care of yourself and each other.”

Basketball team mourns

Johnson was a 5-foot-7 guard and played in 67 games during her three years as a Scot. She shot 34.3 percent from the field, while making 31.5 percent from 3-point range.

MC Head Women’s Basketball Coach Darrin Travillian said his team is grieving and will feel a huge void in this upcoming season.

“We’ll miss her smile, her spark, her energy,” he said, adding that she was an important member of the Scots team from her first year.

“During her time as a freshman, she was the loudest supporter from the bench,” he said. “And when she got to play, she brought that attitude to the floor. She was focused on everyone doing well, everyone performing at a high level. She loved the competition of basketball.”

At point guard, Johnson never led the team in points or rebounds, but Travillian said her teammates trusted her to execute his game plans.

“Her role was to make everybody else better. [Point guard] is a selfless position, but she enjoyed seeing her team succeed.”

Travillian added that the familial and relational aspects of basketball were very important to Johnson, as well.

“She was so looking forward to playing this year and playing with this team,” he said. “That’s part of the tragedy; we won’t have that opportunity.”

By Karen Beaty Eldridge '94, Executive Director of Marketing & Communications


Maryville College is ideally situated in Maryville, Tenn., between the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Knoxville, the state's third largest city. Founded in 1819, it is the 12th oldest institution of higher learning in the South and maintains an affiliation with the Presbyterian Church (USA). Known for offering its students a rigorous and highly personal experience that includes an undergraduate research requirement, Maryville College is a nationally ranked institution of higher learning that successfully joins the liberal arts and professional preparation. Total enrollment for the Fall 2017 semester is 1,181.