Surely, Rusty Johnson was experiencing a mid-life crisis – wasn’t he?How else could anyone outside his inner circle explain the events of late March and early April, when Johnson left the stability of the Aledo girls basketball program for the struggling program that is Justin Northwest?Johnson, 45, just guided the Lady Cats to the ultimate, a trip to the Class 4A state tournament with a 32-4 record. His four-year run in Eastern Parker County was storied: 112-23 career record, three district championships, a 52-4 district record and a really good team returning for 2013-2014.And then there was Northwest swimming in the abyss. In the previous three years, the Lady Texans had not even combined for 10 wins, suffered through a nightmarish 2-28 2012-13 season and said good-bye to coach Wayne Parker who resigned the morning of his final game.“I’m like anyone else,” Johnson said. “I wanted the chance to move up from [Class] 4A to 5A. I’m sure it’s maybe hard to people to understand from that perspective. But this was a professional move with family in the area. My wife has family in the area.“I have a niece in the Northwest administration offense. I really wasn’t looking to leave Aledo. But when I was told about the job, I looked into it and thought it was an opportunity.”What also comes with a 5A job is the relief of not coaching a second sport, better pay and a bigger talent pool to work with. Johnson will be teaching several physical education classes along with some administrative duties. But there will be a ton of work to change the culture within the program.Obviously, Johnson knows he has to convince the underclassmen they can compete and win. What’s in the past is in the past. Beneath the varsity suffering, the junior varsity and top freshman team combined to win nearly 40 games. Now, the transition to the varsity and maintaining that level isn’t easy. There are some intriguing young players to go with the likes of senior guard Brianna Barnhill. This roster will be younger. Northwest will be an open floor team and dictate its offense through its press.Johnson started working with his new team twice a week from April through the end of the school year. The summer league just began. The expectations are there.“Relevance is what it’s all about right now,” Johnson said. “The girls don’t need to feel that they just have to be competitive. They have to go out there and expect to win. They have to come to practice and expect to win. Really, the idea is for them to go into the season and make that last game that they will be playing meaningful.“It can be playing for a playoff spot, playing for a seeding, playing in a playoff game or whatever. There just has to be something at stake. Heck, it might be playing for a .500 season. That’s what we’re striving to do. I know the girls want to work hard. They just don’t know how to push themselves. I hope I can do that.”There really isn’t much Johnson can do with the non-district schedule. He also knows he’s walking into the gauntlet in District 4-5A. That’s Carroll, which will have just about key player returning, Keller and Richland. There are plenty of athletes at Keller Fossil Ridge.In other words, Johnson could suffer as many district losses before mid-January that he suffered in four years at Aledo. Still, Johnson knew exactly what he signed up for. He wants it.Any coach with drive wants that challenge to turn a loser into a winner. Sure, there’s ego involved. Show me a successful coach who doesn’t have one, and I’ll show you the beachfront property I have in Arizona.Northwest needed a new voice. It needed new direction. Johnson is its best chance.