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Details Of Lawsuit Shed More Light On Alleged Doping At NAIA School

By David Woods for DyeStat

There is a new twist in the scandal involving the track and field program at Huntington University.

Former coach Nick Johnson had prescriptions for EPO and testosterone cream and doped runners with those substances without their knowledge or consent, according to allegations in a federal lawsuit.

The amended 59-page complaint was filed Friday in the Northern District of Indiana in Fort Wayne. Two plaintiffs, NAIA cross country champions Hannah Stoffel and Emma Wilson, have been joined in the lawsuit by a third former Huntington runner, Erin Manchess.

Huntington is a small Christian college in northeastern Indiana. Its motto is “the truth will make you free.”

Nick Johnson was fired in December 2020 after being charged with four felony counts. The university promoted his wife, Lauren Johnson, to replace him. Lauren Johnson was placed on administrative leave in October and has left the program.

Nick Johnson accepted a plea deal in February 2022 and was sentenced to 30 days in jail after pleading guilty to identity deception. He was subsequently hired as an employee of a landscaping business owned by a member of the university’s board of trustees.

In an investigation published Oct. 4, The Indianapolis Star reported a cult-like atmosphere at Huntington centered around Nick Johnson and including allegations of emotional and physical abuse, sex between the coach and two of his runners, and pressure to be injected with unidentified substances.


The lawsuit says the substances can now be identified: EPO and testosterone cream, both illegal in the sport. 

Huntington’s doping program resembled that of disgraced coach Alberto Salazar at the Nike Oregon Project, according to the lawsuit.

Also, administering prescription drugs without a license and training is illegal in Indiana, the lawsuit states.

The original 33-page lawsuit was filed Sept. 30. It alleged criminal battery by Nick Johnson and negligence by Lauren Johnson, assistant coach Curtis Hines, Huntington University and other school officials, and Title IX violations.

The amended complaint adds Russ Degitz, the university’s chief operating officer, as a defendant. The lawsuit alleges:

“Despite having actual knowledge that Nick Johnson had raped at least one minor in August 2020 under the auspices of his position as Head Coach for Huntington University, Dr. Degitz…

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