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Johnson the Next to Join Grid Staff?


January 15, 2008
Mickey Furfari
MORGANTOWN — Don’t be surprised if another former West Virginia football player/turned/coach will be back as a member of Bill Stewart’s staff.

David Johnson, the starting center on the 1981-82 bowl-winning teams, was seen in town over the weekend. Could he be one of the three assistants WVU will hire to complete the new staff?

I don’t know. I’m just asking.

Johnson has been an aide to Mark Richt at the University of Georgia the past seven years. He was assistant head coach and tight ends tutor in 2007 when the Bulldogs finished 11-2 and No. 2 in the final national polls.

Before becoming an original member of Richt’s staff, the Pittsburgh native served as an assistant at Marshall University from 1997-2000. WVU fans wouldn’t hold that against him, though.

He’d probably be welcomed as warmly as Steve Dunlap, the newly appointed assistant head coach who will be in charge of the safeties. Dunlap coached for the Thundering Herd last season.

During his seven years at Georgia, Johnson has been part of a staff that has helped the Bulldogs to 72 victories, two SEC championships, thr ee SEC Eastern Division titles, five bowl victories and five top 10 finishes in the rankings.

In 2002, Georgia finished as the SEC’s top scoring (32.14 ppg) and pass efficiency (138.91) offense and in 2005 led the conference in passing efficiency (144.0) and was second in scoring offense (29.5 ppg).

Johnson has coached three stellar tight ends down there that now are playing in the NFL.

While at Marshall, he had served in various roles, including coordinator, gight ends coach, and offensive tackles coach. Before that, he spent 10 years with Frank Cignetti at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, including seven seasons as offensive coordinator.

He also served stints as offensive line, tight ends and even strength and conditioning coach.

Johnson was a four-year letterman at WVU and earned both a bachelor’s and master’s degree. He served as a graduate assistant under Hall of Famer Don Nehlen in 1984-85, the launched his coaching career at Shippensburg (Pa.) University in 1988.

He earned All-America status as a prep football star at Penn Hills High.


Isn’t this the week that Rich Rodriguez must fork over the first $1.3 million payment of his $4 million buyout for bolting WVU to accept the head coaching job at Michigan in December?

The institution, meanwhile, has a lawsuit against its former coach coming up in Monongalia Circuit Court soon for violating his contract which extended through 2012.

According to the contract, his second payment will be due by next Dec. 18 and the final payment on that date in 2009.

I thought it was both significant and commendable that Sen. Jay Rockefeller publicly criticized Rodriguez last week for the manner in which he departed his alma mater last month. Gov. Joe Manchin, the coach’s longtime friend, also had rapped him in print.

There’s no question that Rodriguez deserves considerable credit for the job he did during his seven-year stint at WVU. But the way he handled his abrupt resignation hardly endeared himself to people who supported his program.



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