Vanderbilt Named Bobby Johnson New Football Coach 12/23/01

Vanderbilt Head Coach Bobby Johnson
Thank you, thank you very much. I want to thank Chancellor Gee, Todd Turner, and the people and fans of Vanderbilt football.
I want to ask you something - how could you not be fired up about Vanderbilt football after listening to that man right there (Gee)? You cannot. I'm so fired up now there that we might just get a scrimmage up with these guys here in about 10 minutes.

I want to tell you all that I am extremely honored and excited to be the 25th head coach of Vanderbilt football. I have many people to thank. I won't try to do it here, but I do want to thank a few. All my family, hardly any of whom could be here but I know that are listening. I want them to know that I love them, and I appreciate their support. To all the coaches I have played for, worked with and worked for, including one that is here, George MacIntyre, who is extremely influential to my life. I want to thank especially the players and coaches of Furman University whose hard work has made me successful. Finally, the person who has been with me virtually every step of the way, in fact has probably been ahead of me most of the time, my wife Catherine of 27 years.

I arrived yesterday and had a wonderful day. I reviewed the University and the athletic facilities. I met with the athletic department staff, a couple of players, even a few fans. And I learned quickly that Vanderbilt is a special place with special people.

I want you to know that from the bottom of my heart, I am thrilled to be here. Before I go on, I want to take this opportunity to try to get something right out in the open, right now. It might be a little controversial, but I know that you are thinking, what is going through your mind right now ... the at guy likes just like Steve Martin. If ya'll use that any more, you'd be in big trouble.

I have also anticipated another question - why have you made his decision at his point in your career? Let me tell you why I am here. I am here because of the enthusiastic support and commitment of this entire administration. I'm here today because of resources that are already in place for this program and the challenge to improve.

I am here because this is one of the most prestigious universities in the whole world that happens to play football in the most elite conference in the nation. And I'm here because I appreciate and enjoy recruiting and coaching student-athletes. I am here to make Vanderbilt football successful. That success will only come through hard work. I want the players to know that I will demand a lot from them. I will also demand a lot from my assistant coaches, but most importantly, I am going to demand a great deal from myself. The challenge is great, but the opportunity is greater. I look forward to both.

Thank you very much.


Vanderbilt Director of Athletics Todd Turner Comments...

"Thank you Chancellor. We appreciate your great support for our students, our coaches, and our athletic department.

"Before I introduce Bobby, let me talk a little about the search and what we went through. The profile we developed for our head coach was used to narrow our list of potential candidates to a very, very small group of elite coaches in the United States. Some of them were well-known, some of them were better known to their coaching associates as they are to the public. But each and every one was exceptional as a person, a leader, and more importantly, as a football coach.

"I personally believe Bobby Johnson is a perfect match for Vanderbilt, a perfect match for the new Vanderbilt. He is a competitor, he's a proven winner. He is a man of character, a man of discipline, and he is eager to bring distinction to our university, its students, its faculty through playing winning football and in developing young people to their fullest potential .

"I want to say just one thing to our friends and supporters, many of whom are here today. We thank you for your love of Vanderbilt, for your diligence, for your patience, and for your passion for these young men who are represented here today. I know you will continue to support Coach Johnson and our football program just as you have done in the past because he is going to be the man who brings success. But we can only be as good as you, and me, and others like us who support Vanderbilt will allow us to be. Coach Johnson, his staff and these players will do their part, I know that, but it is to us to do ours. So continue to support our program, stick by us, and in the end, you'll celebrate some of those things the chancellor described earlier.

"At this time, I would like to ask Coach Johnson and Catherine to join me up here for a small presentation. To Bobby, we would have liked to have you sooner, but you just kept winning games. We look forward to you continuing that tradition at Vanderbilt . In fact we are and am confident that you will. This is your golden whistle. I have turning the football program over to you and I know it will be in good hands. Our new football coach, Bobby Johnson.


Vanderbilt Chancellor Gordon Gee

"Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome. I am glad to see our players here. I'm ready to suit with you guys. That's a scary thought, I know. It is wonderful to have you here and wonderful to come to this occasion. No one is more happy and no one is more pleased that I am, I can assure you. I want to welcome Bobby and Catherine here and tell them that we are looking forward to having them become part of the Vanderbilt family.

"Let me say to Todd, I thank you for making all this possible. Todd has done a wonderful job. Someone reminded me that I have hunted for more football coaches than anyone in America. Let me just say that I had the privilege of working very closely with Todd on this matter, and this is the most thorough, and most tenacious, and as appropriate in terms of venting all the potential candidates as I have seen. So, I thank him.

"The coach and his wonderful bride came over and visited with us last night. After he left, my wife said, 'Now, he looks exactly like he came out of central casting.' No one has ever said that about me, Bobby.

"I noted to him this - that I am the seventh chancellor of Vanderbilt; Bobby Johnson is the 25th head football coach of Vanderbilt football. I, of course, am grateful for the longevity of our chancellors, but I must say that it shows the lack of commitment and the lack of ability to attract, and retain, and commit ourselves to football at Vanderbilt.

"Today, I am here to tell you that we draw a line in the sand. Literally. Because this is the end of that (coaching) revolving door. This is the end of saying we will accept nothing less than excellence in all that we do at Vanderbilt and nothing more than mediocrity in what we do in athletics.

"This is the last day of whining about being in the SEC and our inability to compete. We can compete, we will compete, and we will win, I can assure you that.

"And this is the last day of people saying we must create academic tracks for our athletes and lower our standards in order to win. That is simply hogwash, I can assure you that.

"At the same time, this is the first time for my putting the SEC and NCAA on notice that this chancellor of this university will not tolerate misdeeds and misbehavior by other institutions. I intend on making war on the misuse of the term "university" when associated to athletics. We must tie graduation rates to scholarships. We must insist that students get real degrees and not pseudo degrees.

"We must finally reassert that we have universities that play football rather than universities that exist for football. If we can do that, then we will have a level playing field and these young men will not be able to compete, they will compete in a way that we would have them to compete.

"So let me just say this to all of you. Winning does not start with our team right here, although they are a very special ingredient and we love them. Winning does not start with our coach. Winning does not start with our coaches, winning does not start with our athletic director. Winning does not start with anyone other than with me. Unless I believe, unless I understand what it takes to win, unless I commit to what it takes to win, unless I am committed to the highest standards of excellence on our football field, off our football field and in our classroom and make that happen by visibly and publicly supporting what we are all about, then it will not happen. I want to assure you that at the end of my time and when I retire as the seventh chancellor of Vanderbilt, Bobby Johnson will still be the 25th head coach of Vanderbilt University.




Coach Johnson Press Conference
Introduction Transcript
Introduction Photos
Introduction Video
Introduction Audio
Johnson's Resume
Johnson's Bio
Quotes on Johnson
All Time Coaches
Woody Widenhofer Bio
'01 Key Players(.pdf)
'01 Season Review(.pdf)
'02 Schedule





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