Brian Johnson said he will always be “a Jaguar for life.”
But on Tuesday, Johnson officially resigned as Southern’s head track and field coach, opting for an assistant’s position at the University of Georgia that offered him more than his alma mater could.
“I think it was just better for me and my family financially,” said Johnson, who led the Jaguars’ men’s and women’s teams to second-place finishes in the Southwestern Athletic Conference outdoor championships in his fourth year last season. “It was that and the opportunity to coach in (the Southeastern Conference) that caught my attention and my wife’s attention.”
Johnson added the Bulldogs’ resources and membership in the SEC move him closer to his goal of becoming a head coach in the SEC.
“I always wanted to be a Jaguar for life, and I still consider myself a Jaguar for life,” Johnson said. “It just boiled down to the opportunity that Georgia provided.”
Johnson, who will be the recruiting coordinator and coach the sprints and jumps with the Bulldogs, said the Jaguars ban from NCAA postseason competition because of inadequate reporting of student-athletes’ Academic Progress Rates “wasn’t a factor at all” in his decision.
The ban prevented Southern sprinter Devin Jenkins, the reigning SWAC 100 meter and 200 meter champion, and several teammates from competing in the NCAAs last season. Jenkins has received his release from Southern and is expected to enroll at Texas A&M.
Johnson said other schools had approached him about job openings, and he kept in touch with Jaguars Athletic Director William Broussard every step of the way. Johnson, a two-sport star at Southern who was a long jumper in the 2008 Olympics, called Broussard “a great boss.”
“On behalf of the university, I’d like to express my appreciation to coach Johnson for all he has done to rebuild the track program,” Broussard said in a statement released by the university. “Brian has recruited stellar student-athletes to Southern and built both our men’s and women’s teams into perennial championship contenders. I wish him and his family well.”
Johnson was named head coach of the men’s and women’s program in 2010 amid probation because of previous APR issues.