Nashville, Tenn. - Bobby Johnson, who guided Furman University to the NCAA
I-AA championship game just two days ago, has been named the new Vanderbilt Football Head Coach.
Johnson, 50, was introduced to the media and numerous Commodore boosters in a ceremony Sunday afternoon. He becomes the 25th head coach in Vanderbilt's 111-year football history, replacing Woody Widenhofer, who resigned November 8 after five years.
Vanderbilt Chancellor Gordon Gee and Director of Athletics Todd Turner praised Johnson during their welcome to the Nashville campus.
"I am very pleased we were able to find the ideal match for the profile we established at the beginning of our search," Turner said. "We wanted a proven winner, we wanted someone with a proven commitment to excellence, and we wanted someone who would have the experience to put our program on a path toward success. We found that person in Bobby Johnson. We are thrilled he is with us today."
"I am confident that we have reached for, and captured, the best head coach for Vanderbilt," Gee said. "I have been impressed with Bobby's commitment to excellence, his passion for success, and his absolute integrity. He is a leader who has the respect and affection of his players, and who has instilled a sense of winning and excitement in his program."
Johnson was 60-36 in eight years at the Furman helm, guiding the Paladins to four NCAA playoff appearances. He is a three-time recipient of the American Football Coaches Association Region II Coach of the Year Award.
Johnson worked as a top assistant for 16 years - 14 at Furman - before accepting the Paladins' top job in 1994. He served as assistant head coach and defensive coordinator under Jimmy Satterfield at Furman from 1986 to 1992. He was defensive coordinator at Clemson for one year prior to being named Furman's head coach.
Johnson has coached several All-Americans at Furman, including 2000 Walter Payton Award winner Louis Ivory, 1999 Southern Conference Defensive Player of the Year John Keith, and 1996 Southern Conference Offensive Player of the Year Luther Broughton.
A native of Columbia, S.C., Johnson starred in football, basketball and baseball at Eau Claire High School. He continued his playing career at Clemson, where he lettered three years, contributing at both wide receiver and cornerback. He topped Clemson in interceptions in 1971 and 1972, and was a two-time Atlantic Coast Conference All-Academic honoree. He graduated in 1973 with a bachelor of science degree in management, and in 1979 was awarded a master's degree in education from Furman. He is married to the former Catherine Bonner of Charleston, S.C.