Thank You, Coach Johnson

On Saturdays, I cheer for four teams: Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, Georgia Southern Eagles, Oklahoma State Cowboys, and whoever is playing Georgia. For 15 of the last 21 years, Coach Paul Johnson has been the Head Coach of either the Eagles or the Jackets, with the other six years at the U.S. Naval Academy. I have seen first hand his ability to coach the most out of players and to hold the most entertaining press conferences and Coach’s shows. I have truly been a fan of his since his first days at Georgia Southern and I have also been proud to have him at the helm. I was saddened to learn of his pending departure after Georgia Tech’s bowl game next month.

Over the last couple of years, I have been asked more times than I can count if Georgia Tech should get rid of Paul Johnson. My answer has been a sold “NO!” Why? Let me list a few reasons listed in a press release from Georgia Tech’s football program:

  • Paul Johnson is the fourth-winningest coach in school history, with only Hall of Fame coaches John Heisman, William Alexander, and Bobby Dodd having more wins. Of those, only Dodd won more games (91) than Johnson did (82) in their first 11 years.
  • Georgia Tech appeared in 3 ACC Championship games and finished in the top 2 in the ACC Coastal division seven years. Virginia Tech is the only other Coastal team to do the same. Clemson (9) and Florida State (7) are the only other teams in the ACC to have at least 7 first or second place finishes in their division.
  • Won at least seven regular-season games 7 times in 11 seasons (Tech won seven regular-season games 15 times in the 41 seasons prior to his arrival)
  • Four nine-win seasons – Tech had just seven nine-win seasons in the 51 years immediately preceding Johnson’s arrival (1957-2007)
  • Two of the nine 10-win seasons in program history (2009 and 2014)
  • One of the five 11-win seasons in program history (2014)
  • The most important is that Johnson has a current NCAA Graduation Success Rate (GSR) of 86%, the highest ever at Georgia Tech. The GSR rate had been as low as 48% before Johnson started coaching there.

I am proud of what Coach Johnson accomplished over the last 21 years. I wish nothing but the best for him and his family as they go forward. Coach Johnson will always be a part of Eagle Nation and the Ramblin’ Wreck. I send him off with a hearty Hail Southern and To Hell with Georgia!

Coach Johnson:
“After 40 years of coaching, it’s time to take a break. My family has sacrificed a lot over the years. I want to watch my daughter [Kaitlyn, a professional opera singer] perform and do some things with my wife [Susan] that we’ve never had a chance to do. It’s been a great run for the last 11 years here on The Flats. I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished and am looking forward to having the chance to coach this team one last time at our bowl game next month.”

Todd Stansbury, Georgia Tech director of athletics:
“I was saddened when Coach Johnson informed me that he was going to step down as our head coach. Not only is he Georgia Tech’s winningest head coach in more than 50 years but he is also an incredible mentor for the young men in our football program and has helped develop countless student-athletes that have gone on to great success after graduation. I wish him and Susan nothing but the very best as he steps away from coaching football for the first time in 40 years and ask the entire Georgia Tech community to join me in thanking him for his hard work and contributions to the Institute over the past 11 years.”

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usmcbob
usmcbob

We Bulldog fans are REALLY going to miss him! WOOF! WOOF!

Benevolus
Benevolus

Awww, I am sorry to see that too. But best wishes to him.
I did not realize that was his daughter in the opera. Cool! Maybe we’ll see her again here.

So is GT going to start throwing passes then?

Gregs
Gregs

I’ve long believed Johnson did the best he could under the circumstances. Tech doesn’t offer a degree in cookie design and until it does it will never be able to recriut with the likes of Georgia or Bama.

Andrew C. Pope
Andrew C. Pope

I think that argument is a myth.

There are 16 unique majors among Stanford’s football roster. 12 of those majors are offered by Georgia Tech. The 4 that aren’t (poli-sci; media studies; history; Japanese) are available at Georgia Tech as minors or have a close equivalent offered by Georgia Tech. Stanford is able to balance high-level academics and athletics (consistently a top-25 football program and probably the best all-around athletics department in the country) there is no reason Tech can’t do the same.

Benevolus
Benevolus

All else being equal… Bay Area vs. Atlanta, GA?

The Eiger
The Eiger

Are your referring to sitting in the sun or which has the best recruiting base? I would argue that Atlanta has better 3 and 4 star recruits to pick from. There is zero reason that Tech couldn’t be competitive in recruiting quality players. If they get another option coach they will have the same problem they have now. Most 5 star recruits come from high school teams running a spread offense or a RPO offense. They don’t want to go to college to use a high school play book. Yes, Paul Johnson’s offense could be complicated. But complicated in the… Read more »

xdog
xdog

I always held the crusty old coot in high esteem but in a competitive sense it’s probably time for Tech to make a change.

I think Johnson was hurt by metro high school teams getting away from the option and moving to a more wide open attack. Recruiting was never Johnson’s strength and without a ready supply of QBs and RBs who knew nothing but option football he was crippled.

He had some great teams–2014 was scary good–and some not very good but he always did things his way at Tech and did it very well. Good luck to him.