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Aug. 17, 2006

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – University of Virginia head softball coach Karen Johns continues her stint as an assistant coach with the 2006 USA Softball Women’s National Team at the International Softball Federation World Championships in Beijing, China, which takes place Aug. 27 through Sept. 5. The USA has won the last five ISF World Championships. A total of 16 teams will compete in two-eight team pools in the XI Women’s World Championship.

Johns, formerly Karen Sanchelli, will be the first person to play and coach in the World Championships for the United States. As a catcher, she helped the USA National Team win gold medals at the 1990 and 1994 ISF World Championships.

Arizona head coach Mike Candrea is the head coach of the USA National Team. Johns, along with Chuck D’Arcy and John Rittman, are serving as Candrea’s assistant coaches. The USA National Team recently won the gold medal and posted a 6-0 record at the II World Cup of Softball, which was held July 13-17 in Oklahoma City, Okla. The team was also selected as the U. S. Olympic Committee’s Team of the Month for July.

“The experience with the National Team has been nothing short of spectacular,” said Johns. “I’m amazed everyday with the work ethic and talent of each player. It has also been unbelievable being around such wonderful coaches. I have listened to so many stories about Bear Bryant from my husband (Bobby Johns) who had the pleasure of playing for the greatest college football coach in the history of the game. I’m living through the same experience myself by having this opportunity to coach with Mike Candrea. However, our 2006 journey is far from over. Our expectation is to repeat as world champions and it is our desire to do so in Beijing. Our team is playing with great confidence and chemistry, which are two very powerful ingredients for winning championships. I owe a lot of thanks and appreciation to my two assistants, Carie Dever-Boaz and Brandon Duncan, for holding down the fort while I’m away from home.”

The USA opens the tournament on Aug. 27 against Italy. The other teams in the USA’s pool are DPR Korea, Canada, Great Britain, New Zealand, China, and South Africa over the next six days to complete pool play. The top four teams from both pools advance to the playoffs.

Johns, who is in her second season as Virginia’s head coach, served as an assistant coach with the USA Softball Women’s National Team at the 2005 World Cup of Softball where the U.S. lost to Japan in the championship game. She was an assistant coach with the USA Elite Team at the 2005 Canada Cup with the United States falling in the championship game.

In her first season at Virginia in 2006, Johns’ Cavaliers posted a 29-26 record. In six seasons as a collegiate head coach, Johns sports a 221-157 record with four NCAA Regionals appearances.

Johns will keep Virginia fans updated on her trip by writing a journal entry every day on the softball page of

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