Paul Johnson Set to Retire
The college football world is a “buzz” with news of Paul Johnson’s impending retirement announcement as head coach at Georgia Tech. Johnson’s announcement could come as soon as this evening. Johnson has been running his triple-option in the Flats since the 2008 season. What has Johnson accomplished during his coaching career, and what is next for the Yellow Jackets?
Johnson’s Coaching Journey
Georgia Southern (1997-2001)
Paul Johnson accepted the position of head coach with Georgia Southern in 1997. From 1997 to 2001, Coach Johnson led the Eagles to a 62-10 record (86.1% victory rate). In that same time-frame, Johnson and the Eagles won the Division I-AA national championship twice.
In 2002, Paul Johnson decided to take his talents to the Navy. Johnson’s claim to fame during his time at Navy was hoisting the Commander-in-Chief trophy 11 times! Johnson would lead the Midshipmen to a 45-29 record before leaving to accept the same position with Georgia Tech.
Georgia Tech (2008-2018)
December 7, 2007, Paul Johnson was introduced as Georgia Tech’s next head coach. In Johnson’s first year he would lead the Yellow Jackets to a 9-4 finish. That record would be good enough for a first place tie for the coastal division. Georgia Tech would earn an invite to the Chick-Fil-A bowl game during Johnson’s first year as head coach.
Johnson’s two most successful seasons would be 2009 and 2014. Georgia Tech finished the 2009 football season with a 10-3 record and an ACC championship victory against Clemson. But due to NCAA violations, Georgia Tech was forced to vacate the last three games of the season. Two out of the three vacated games were losses – to Georgia and Iowa – but the vacated ACC championship was the biggest loss. Fans still hold the Yellow Jackets as the 2009 ACC champions regardless of the ruling by the NCAA. Who can blame them?
2014 would prove Johnson’s most successful season with Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets finished the season with an 11-3 record – Johnson’s best at the Flats. Georgia Tech would represent the coastal division in the ACC championship game, but ultimately fell two points short against the Florida State Seminoles. The Yellow Jackets would finish their season with an Orange Bowl victory against seventh ranked Mississippi State.
Paul Johnson has 189 career wins, which is the 4th-most among active CFB coaches. (Only behind Nick Saban, Brian Kelly, and Bill Snyder). Johnson was named ACC Coach of the Year in 2008, 2009 and 2014 and was named National Coach of the Year by CBS Sportsline in 2008.
Paul Johnson finished his tenure with Georgia Tech with a 82-59 record – the winningest coach for Georgia Tech football. Johnson and the Yellow Jackets would claim four ACC Coastal division championships, and one ACC championship (forget the NCAA ruling!). For better or worse, we, the fans, appreciate your time and efforts here in Atlanta, coach. You gave the fans some amazing memories, and for that we are eternally grateful!
“After 40 years of coaching, it’s time to take a break,” Johnson said. “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.”
What Happens Next?
Per Adam Rittenburg of ESPN, coaches have been pulled off the recruiting trail and the Georgia Tech staff has a meeting scheduled for 2:30p this afternoon. Johnson will alert coaches, players, and finally the media of his retirement from college football.
Rittenberg’s post mentions Ken Whisenhunt and Tony Elliott as potential replacements for Paul Johnson. While many more names are sure to pop up between now and any official announcement, the idea of Tony Elliott coming to the Flats is exciting.
Let us not forget the fact that Georgia Tech’s 2018 team still has a bowl game to prepare for. It is uncertain which bowl game the Yellow Jackets will play in, but Paul Johnson announced that he will coach the bowl game.