- Jimmy Johnson (American football coach)
DateOfBirth=birth date and age|1943|7|16
Port Arthur, Texas
80-64-0 (Regular Season)
Super Bowl XXVIII
Super Bowl XXVII
1987 NCAA Championship
University of Miami
James William Johnson (born
July 16, 1943) is an American footballcoach and broadcaster. He was the first football coach whose teams won both an NCAA Division 1A National Championship and a Super Bowl. In 1993, Johnson wrote "Turning The Thing Around: My Life in Football" (ghostwritten by Ed Hinton). Johnson currently lives in Islamoradain the Florida Keyswhere he spends most of his time fishing.
Port Arthur, Texas, Johnson graduated from Thomas Jefferson High School (now Memorial High School) in Port Arthur, where one of his classmates was future rock superstar Janis Joplin, whom Johnson nicknamed "beat weeds."
He went to college at the
University of Arkansasand won a national title on the football team, where he was an all-SWC defensive linemanfor Hall of Fame coach Frank Broyles, and a teammate of future Dallas Cowboysowner Jerry Jones. Johnson's future rival head coach, Barry Switzer, was an assistant coach. Johnson was nick-named "Jimmy Jumpup" because he never stayed down on the ground for long during football practices or games as it was said his determination was boundless. [ [http://www4.cnnsi.com/si_online/QandA/2002/0930/ CNNSI.com - SI Online Q&A - Q & A with Jimmy Johnson - Wednesday September 25, 2002 05:51 PM ] ]
Johnson is one of only two head coaches to win both a college football national championship and a
Super Bowl. The other is Barry Switzer, his college teammate and rival head coach. [http://www.encyclopediaofarkansas.net/encyclopedia/entry-detail.aspx?entryID=2942 "Barry Switzer"] . "The Arkansas Encyclopedia of History and Culture". Retrieved April 17, 2007.]
Early football career
Johnson began as an assistant coach at
Louisiana Tech Universityin 1965 and Picayune Memorial High School in Picayune, Mississippiin 1966. In 1967 he was an assistant at Wichita State University, then in 1968 and 1969 he served under Johnny Majors at Iowa State Universityin Ames. In 1970 he moved on to another Big 8 school to become a defensive line coach at the University of Oklahoma, working alongside future rival Barry Switzer. In 1973, he returned to Arkansas, where he served as defensive coordinator through the 1976 season. Johnson had hopes of being named head coach when Frank Broyles retired, but was passed over for Lou Holtz. Holtz offered to retain Johnson on his staff, but Johnson decided it would be better to move on and amicably parted company with his alma mater. He became an assistant coach at the University of Pittsburghunder Jackie Sherrillin 1977 and 1978. His tenure at Pittsburgh was also highlighted by his introduction to a Pitt defensemen and then-assistant coach Dave Wannstedtwho eventually teamed up with Johnson again at the University of Miami, the Cowboys and the Dolphins. He coached for five seasons at Oklahoma State University from 1979 to 1983 before taking the head coaching job at the University of Miami.
Oklahoma State University
Johnson's tenure at Oklahoma State University is noteworthy for his successful rebuilding of one of college football's perennial losers and for his inability to beat
Barry Switzer's University of Oklahomateams [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barry_Switzer#Head_Coach.2C_University_of_Oklahoma] , despite several hotly contested games, including the 1983 contest in which Johnson's team was leading 20–3 with three minutes remaining in the fourth quarter and ended up losing the game [http://www.soonerstats.com/football/games/boxscore.cfm?GameID=828] .
University of Miami
In 1984, Johnson was hired by the
University of Miamito replace former coach Howard Schnellenberger, who had won Miami's first national championship in 1983 and departed for the recently formed United States Football League. Johnson's hiring was met with an initial response of "Jimmy Who?" by the fans and media. Johnson started with a shaky 8–5 record his first season, which included a game in which Johnson's Hurricanes blew a 31-0 halftime lead in a loss to Maryland and also included a 47–45 loss to Boston Collegeimmortalized by Doug Flutie's " Hail Mary" touchdown pass on the game's final play. But Johnson developed the Hurricanes into a football program came to be known as "The Decade of Dominance." In his five years at Miami, Johnson compiled a 52–9 record, appeared in five New Year's Day bowl games, winning one national championship (1987) and playing for a second.Fact|date=December 2007
Johnson's Hurricanes would post the school's first undefeated regular season in 1986, only to lose the National Championship Game that year to #2
Penn State. The loss, along with losses in Miami's prior two bowl games, began to raise questions about whether Johnson was capable of winning major games. In the ensuing 1987 season, however, the Hurricanes went undefeated in the regular season yet again, and winning the school's second National Title by defeating Johnson's old tormentor Oklahoma for the third season in a row.Fact|date=September 2008
Johnson also created controversy by allowing the University of Miami to retire
Vinny Testaverde's football jersey number #14, but refusing to retire Bernie Kosar's number #20,even though Kosar played one season for Johnson and led the Hurricanes to the national title (though that didn't come under Johnson). Testaverde played four seasons for Johnson and entered Miami as a redshirt freshman, but lost both times when the Hurricanes played for the title (35–7 to Tennessee in the 1986 Sugar Bowl and 14–10 to Penn State in the 1987 Fiesta Bowl). Johnson's reason for not retiring Kosar's number was, "Bernie didn't finish the program here (at Miami)." Kosar graduated with honors a year ahead of his freshman class in 1985 with a dual major in finance and economics (and subsequently entered the NFL's supplemental draft), while Testaverde never graduated, despite attending for five years.Fact|date=September 2008
Jerry Jones, the new ownerof the NFL's Dallas Cowboys, a long-time friend and former University of Arkansasteammate of Johnson's, asked him to be the new head coach, replacing Tom Landry, who had coached the team since its beginning in 1960. Johnson was reunited with former Miami standout Michael Irvin, and in Johnson's first season as coach, the 1989 Cowboys went 1–15. Johnson, however, did not take long to develop the Cowboys into a championship-quality team. Johnson has an ability to find talent in the draft, make savvy trades (namely, the trade of Herschel Walker, which yielded six high draft picks and a number of players from the Minnesota Vikings), and by signing quality players as free agents in the age before the NFL had imposed a salary cap, such as Jay Novacek.
Johnson served as head coach of the Cowboys from 1989 through 1993. He is one of only six men in NFL history—(including
Vince Lombardi, Don Shula, Chuck Noll, Mike Shanahan, and Bill Belichick)—to coach consecutive Super Bowlwinners, winning Super Bowl XXVIIin 1992 and Super Bowl XXVIIIin 1993.
After the 1993 Super Bowl victory, Johnson resigned as head coach, due largely to his inability to work with Jones. Jones then hired another former teammate at Arkansas, former
University of Oklahomahead coach Barry Switzerand the Cowboys won another Super Bowl two seasons after Johnson's departure, although Johnson still received a significant amount of credit for that third Super Bowl victory, as he was generally credited with having assembled the team.
After being a TV analyst with
Fox Sportsfor two years with a brief flirtation with an offer of the head coaching job of the Philadelphia Eaglesin 1994 [http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9D03E3DE1238F934A25751C1A962958260&n=Top%2fReference%2fTimes%20Topics%2fPeople%2fJ%2fJohnson%2c%20Jimmy] , Johnson joined the Miami Dolphinsin 1996, replacing legendary head coach Don Shula, who retired at the end of the 1995 season. After a below-expectations year for the Dolphins in 1995, capped off by a blowout loss in the playoffs versus the Buffalo Bills, there was a groundswell among Dolphins fans who wanted Shula to step aside in favor of Johnson [http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,983957,00.html] .
Johnson's tenure in Miami was a disappointment, and it did not live up to expectations. Johnson won fewer games in his first season than Shula had in his final season (8–8 vs. 9–7). Johnson's overall winning percentage at Miami was 55.3% vs. 65.8% for Shula [http://www.profootballhof.com/hof/member.jsp?player_id=194] .
Johnson inherited one of the NFL's best offenses, led by Hall of Fame Quarterback
Dan Marino, but only a mediocre defense. As a defensive specialist, Johnson expected to put together a championship defense. With complete control over personnel decisions, Johnson and his staff signed several excellent defensive players, drafting future pro bowlers Zach Thomas, Jason Taylor, Sam Madison, and Patrick Surtain. But Johnson's draft record in Miami was blemished by several high profile first round busts, including running back John Avery and wide receiver Yatil Green.
In January 1999 Johnson resigned as Dolphins head coach, citing burnout. He reversed his decision in one day, after
Dan Marino-- with whom Johnson had a strained relationship [http://www.sportingnews.com/archives/marino/marino-jj.html] -- pleaded with Johnson to come back. Dolphins owner Wayne Huizengaalso hired in the recently-fired Chicago Bearshead coach Dave Wannstedt, a former assistant under Johnson both at the University of Miami and in Dallas, as Defensive Coordinator/Assistant Head Coach.
In the face of Super Bowl–level expectations, Miami faded down the stretch, and Johnson's relationship with Marino dissolved completely. The Dolphins' final game of the season was an embarrassing 62–7 loss to the
Jacksonville Jaguarsin the Divisional Playoff Round. Johnson resigned the day after the game and Marino soon thereafter announced his retirement.
Johnson never won a Super Bowl in Miami, only won 1 playoff game, and retired after compiling a 26–21 record. He was succeeded by
After leaving the Dolphins, Johnson became a TV studio analyst again for Fox Sports, and is currently part of their NFL pregame show. He has been assigned as a studio analyst for Fox's coverage of the
Bowl Championship Seriesin January with Chris Roseas the host, and also pens a column on Foxsports.com.
Jimmy was married to Linda Kay Cooper in 1963, with whom he had two sons. They divorced in 1989. On July 18, 1999, he married Rhonda Rookmaker.
*Reputed to have an
IQof 162. [ [http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F70616F83C5C0C758EDDA80894DB494D81&n=Top%2fReference%2fTimes%20Topics%2fPeople%2fJ%2fJohnson%2c%20Jimmy SUPER BOWL XXVII: NOTEBOOK; Jones Laterals to Johnson, Who Laterals to Jones - New York Times ] ]
*Johnson's hair is often a source of humor: heavily starched in a perfect wave, it has been called "helmet hair" for staying in place through wind and weather. His players often took delight in tousling it after victories. He is sometimes known as the only coach to wear a helmet both on the sidelines and off.
*He made a cameo appearance as a bearded prisoner in lockup on the TV series "
* He was a guest star on the TV Series "Coach" in 1994, an episode entitled "Johnsonwreckers".
*Johnson owns two restaurants named "Three Rings" (after the three championships he's won on both collegiate and professional level). One is located in
Miami, Florida, and the other in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The location in Oklahoma City has since closed.
*Johnson's fishing boat which is docked behind his oceanfront home in
Islamorada, Floridais also called "Three Rings".
*Made a cameo appearance in the movie "
The Waterboy" next to Bill Cowher.
Pennsylvaniagovernor Ed Rendellonce bet an Eagles fan sitting next to him during the infamous Bounty Bowl IIgame twenty dollars that he couldn't hit Johnson from the stands with a snowball. Rendell lost the bet, as Johnson was struck in the head by a snowball, inciting a flurry of snowballs from fans all around.
*In college, his nickname was "Tank."
"How 'bout them Cowboys!?" [ [http://www.amazon.com/Super-Bowl-Champions-Xxviii/dp/630335467X] Super Bowl XXVIII - Dallas Cowboys Championship Video (1993)]
"If you're gonna talk the talk, you better walk the walk!"
"Let the mind control the body, not the body control the mind."
"Treat a person as he is, and he will remain as he is. Treat him as what he could be, and he will become what he should be."
"The best game we play will be the last one of the year." (his way of avoiding mentioning Super Bowl to his players but implying it as the goal and expectation)
Johnny Majorscouldn't help it if I had a young and nervous football team." (after losing to Tennessee by a score of 35-7 in the Sugar Bowl following the 1985 season)
* [http://www.nndb.com/people/960/000163471/ Jimmy Johnson biography at NNDB] .
* [http://msn.foxsports.com/writer/archive?authorId=218 Jimmy Johnson's column on Foxsports.com] .
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