July 14, 2010
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Following eight seasons at Vanderbilt and 34 seasons coaching college football, Head Coach Bobby Johnson announced his retirement at a press conference on Wednesday.
"Obviously, this is a very tough decision, one with which my wife Catherine and I struggled with," Johnson said. I want to make it perfectly clear that this was a personal decision and it's about what we want to do with our lives, and it doesn't only have to do with Vanderbilt football.
"I do want to thank Vanderbilt University for giving me the opportunity to work at a first-class institution and work with some great people. I want to thank my staff for their tireless effort to better compete on the biggest stage in college football, and I'm extremely confident that they will not only sustain that program but they will move it forward."
The fourth-winningest coach in Vanderbilt history, Johnson spearheaded the program's rise to its first bowl appearance in 25 seasons when he led the Commodores to victory in the 2008 Music City Bowl.
Johnson departs Vanderbilt with a record of 29-66 in eight seasons and concludes his coaching career with an 89-102 all-time record, which includes a 60-36 record in eight seasons at Furman.
In his eight years at Vanderbilt, Johnson helped restore respect to the program by preaching discipline, hard work and fundamentals. His tireless approach led to many notable victories on and off the field.
On the field, Johnson guided the Commodores to wins over five Top 25 teams since 2005. He also found success in some of the most hostile environments in the country, winning at Tennessee, Georgia, Ole Miss, Arkansas, Kentucky and South Carolina.
The 2008 season will be remembered as Johnson's finest for a multitude of reasons. In addition to leading the Commodores to the Music City Bowl, he helped Vanderbilt become the talk of college football with a 5-0 record, consecutive weeks in the polls, national television appearances and the backdrop of ESPN's College Football GameDay against Auburn.
During his tenure at Vanderbilt, Johnson mentored 22 All-SEC selections, 21 SEC All-Freshmen and SEC Offensive Player of the Year Jay Cutler. Johnson has also made considerable strides in upgrading the talent level on the Commodore roster. That development has led to an increase in the number of players competing at the next level. In 2010, 11 of Johnson's former pupils are among the 13 one-time Commodore players on NFL preseason rosters.
Off the field, Vanderbilt's program has been a model of success under Johnson. In 2009, he accepted the AFCA's Academic Achievement Award, saluting Vanderbilt as the nation's best in regard to graduating its football players. Last year, Johnson's squad broke an SEC record by having 38 players named recipients of the league's academic honor roll. Further, a total of 221 players have earned Academic All-SEC recognition since 2001.
Individual accolades were a common theme during Johnson's tenure. As a senior Hunter Hillenmeyer was named All-SEC on the field and a National Scholar Athlete and first team CoSIDA Academic All-American for his classroom achievements. Since 2007, six Commodore players have received District IV Academic All-America honors.
Away from football, the South Carolina native was known as a class act and outstanding representative of Vanderbilt University.