Last week, LSU defensive line coach Bill Johnson agreed to a two-year, $550,000 per year contract that includes a one-time $71,500 payment, according to a term sheet between the coach and the school The Advocate obtained through a public records request.
Johnson's contract, which he signed Feb. 20, is more than double the amount his predecessor, Dennis Johnson, made before he joined former LSU defensive coordinator Dave Aranda's staff at Baylor as the Bears' defensive line coach.
Dennis Johnson had a two-year, $210,000 per year contract that was set to expire March 31.
Bill Johnson was hired in August to fill in for Dennis, who moved to an analyst role after suffering severe knee injuries playing basketball in the summer.
Dennis tore patellar tendons in both knees and was initially restricted to an electric wheel chair. First-year analyst Kenechi Udeze and graduate assistant Christian Lacouture helped head coach Ed Orgeron with the defensive line until Bill Johnson arrived two weeks into preseason camp. Speculation began on when or if Dennis Johnson would return to full-time coaching once he recovered.
“We're going to see what happens,” Orgeron said in August. “Bill is the defensive line coach for this year. Then we're going to revisit everything, see what happens. Nothing can tell what happens in college football. So I'm leaving that door open. See what happens at the end.”
Bill Johnson's new deal, which expires on March 31, 2021, makes him the seventh-highest paid assistant on Orgeron's staff.
Johnson's buyout equals out to 100% of his remaining total compensation if he leaves for any coaching position other than head coach in the Southeastern Conference. He'll owe LSU $225,000 if he leaves for any non-head coaching position in the NCAA, and he won't owe anything if he becomes a college head coach or returns for any coaching position in the NFL.
Term sheets are legally binding employment agreements, and the form says Johnson and the athletic department will draw up a formal long-form agreement within 60 days that includes the agreements in the term sheet.
The long-form agreement then takes precedent and needs approval by the LSU Board of Supervisors, which next meets March 6.
Bill Johnson was Orgeron's mentor. Johnson coached Orgeron at Northwestern State in the early 1980s, and Johnson helped him break into coaching at Northwestern, McNeese State and Miami.
After Orgeron's one season as a defensive line coach in the NFL, spent with the Saints in 2008, he recommended Johnson to be his replacement. Johnson coached with the Saints from 2009 until 2016. He then coached two seasons in the same role with the Los Angeles Rams before he was fired and returned to coach with Orgeron at LSU.
In 2019, LSU's defense ranked 31st nationally in scoring defense (21.9 points allowed per game), 20th nationally in total sacks (37) and 23rd in tackles for loss (96).
Defensive end Rashard Lawrence was named second-team All-SEC, and the 6-foot-2, 308-pound senior recorded six tackles for loss and 2½ sacks in 12 games.