Head Coach Bobby Johnson - A Lifetime of Success
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ē Age: 50
ē Furman Head Coach
ē 60-36-0 Record
ē I-AA National Runnerup
ē Native of Columbia, SC
ē Attended Clemson
ē 16 Years As Assistant Coach
ē Clemson Def. Coord.
Johnson walks onto the Vanderbilt campus and into the lives
of thousands of Commodore faithful armed with a legacy of
integrity, character, intelligence, motivation and winning
possibly, the South Carolina native arrives from Furman University
with the ideal combination of professional success and personal
well-being to succeed in turning around the Vanderbilt football
arrives in Nashville with few accomplishments unfulfilled
at Furman. During an eight-year reign as head coach, Johnson
guided the Paladins to a 60-36 overall record, NCAA I-AA national
runnerup finish, four NCAA appearances and a pair of Southern
Conference titles. He mentored an abundance of I-AA All-Americans,
including 2000 Walter Payton Award winner Louis Ivory.
2001, Johnson directed Furman to the pinnacle of I-AA success.
The Paladins claimed a share of the Southern Conference, then
scored three playoff wins to reach the I-AA finals for the
first time since 1988. One of the victories was a dramatic
24-17 win over two-time defending champion Georgia Southern
to earn a berth in the I-AA national finals. In the NCAA finals,
Furman narrowly lost to #1 Montana 13-6.
Vanderbilt Coach Bobby Johnson - Integrity, Character,
Work Ethic & Commitment to Winning.
2001 success was the culmination of a tremendous rebuilding
job by Johnson at Furman. The tradition-rich Paladins were
coming off three disappointing seasons when Johnson was named
head coach in 1994, after spending a year as defensive coordinator
at his alma mater, Clemson.
revitalization effort at Furman started with a 3-8 season
in 1994. The next season, Johnson led a youthful Furman squad
to a winning season, 6-5, and renewed respect in the Southern
winning combination mushroomed in 1996 as Furman went 6-0
at home enroute to a 9-4 finish and the schoolís first NCAA
appearance and Top 20 ranking in six years. During the playoffs,
the Paladins scored an impressive 42-31 road victory over
Northern Arizona before losing to Marshall. Johnson received
the first of three Region II Coach of the Year honors by the
American Football Coaches Association. He also coached All-American
tight end Luther Broughton, the first Paladin NFL draftee
in a decade.
1997 and 1998 Furman squads, expected to contend for the Southern
Conference championship, struggled to continue the schoolís
football tradition, finishing 7-4 and 5-6, respectively.
1999, Johnson guided the Paladins back to championship form,
posting a 9-3 record, capturing an NCAA playoff berth and
the teamís 10th Southern Conference championship. The team
was ousted from the playoffs by defending national champion
Massachuetts 30-23 in overtime. The Paladinsí three losses
were by a total of 12 points. Johnsonís team also handily
defeated North Carolina 28-3, its first I-A win since 1985.
A seven-game win streak ended against eventual I-AA champion
Georgia Southern, 41-38. The Paladins featured a bevy of stars,
including running back Louis Ivory, NFL draftees John Keith
and Des Kitchings and academic All-Americans Stuart Rentz
and Marion Martin.
strong run continued in 2000, as Furman again finished 9-3.
The highlight was a 45-10 defeat of #1 Georgia Southern, the
eventual I-AA national champion. The regular season featured
a five-game win streak, and two losses by a combined margin
of three points. The playoffs ended quickly for Furman, as
Hofstra captured a 31-24 first-round victory. Johnsonís players
reaped numerous honors, including Ivory, who captured the
Walter Payton Award as the top offensive player in NCAA I-AA
football after rushing for 2,079 yards. Four other Paladins
were recognized as All-Americans and Martin was awarded a
prestigious National Football Foundation/Hall of Fame Scholarship.
Paladins dropped the 2001 season opener, 20- 14 to I-A foe
Wyoming, then ran off 12 victories in 13 games before losing
the national championship to Montana. The highlight was Furmanís
24-17 victory over favored Georgia Southern in the NCAA semifinals
that snapped GSUís 39-game home winning streak.
fact that Furman thrived under Johnson surprised few Paladin
followers. Johnsonís style and appreciation for winning football
became evident at Furman as he distinguished himself as a
top assistant coach and later as defensive coordinator. Johnson
was a key factor in virtually all the success Furman has enjoyed
since 1975, including 11 conference championships and an NCAA
I-AA national title.
professional reputation is built on years of squeezing the
most out of his playersí abilities while urging them to put
forth maximum effort on and off the field. His career has
seen Johnson serve as academic advisor and admission office
liaison. Furman footballís nationally acclaimed graduate rates
and 12 academic All-American selections during Johnsonís tenure
testify to his effectiveness. His ability to work with qualified
associates is apparent from the simple fact that his coaching
staff has remained virtually intact at Furman since his appointment
coaching career, which covers 24 years, began in 1976 as defensive
backs coach at Furman. In 1980, Johnson left the university
to serve as academic counselor at Clemson, but returned the
following year. In 1983, he added the responsibility of defensive
coordinator - a position he held for three years under then
head coach Dick Sheridan and seven seasons under Jimmy Satterfield.
In 1993, he accepted a similar position at his alma mater,
Clemson. During his tenure as defensive coordinator at Furman,
the Paladins were 91-31-3, claimed five Southern Conference
crowns and registered eight I-AA Top 20 final rankings. In
Furmanís 1988 national championship campaign, Johnsonís defense
led the nation in scoring defense, allowing just 9.7 points
his only season at Clemson, his strong Tiger defense helped
deliver a Peach Bowl victory, though he left the Tigers prior
to the bowl to accept the head coaching job at Furman.
native of Columbia, South Carolina, Johnson starred as a football,
baseball and basketball player at Eau Claire High School.
In 1968, he was named South Carolina Lineman of the Year.
He continued his playing career at Clemson, where he lettered
three years playing at wide receiver and cornerback. Johnson
led Clemson in interceptions in 1971 and 1972, and was a two-time
Atlantic Coast Conference All-Academic selection.
graduated from Clemson in 1973 with a bachelor of science
degree in management. In 1979, he was awarded a masterís degree
in education from Furman.
is married to the former Catherine Bonner of Charleston, S.C.