Wednesday afternoon, the great Paul Johnson decided to call it a career. Johnson was at the helm for now 11 seasons at Georgia Tech and has an 82-59 record. I say “has” because Paul Johnson will put the headset on one more time for the Jackets Bowl Game.
This decision comes as a surprise to many, but to some “fans” it was an answer to their prayers. Real Georgia Tech fans know that Paul Johnson changed the Georgia Tech program for the best. With a career full of challenges, taking the triple option to a power 5 school like Georgia Tech was the biggest of them all. Boy did he prove everybody wrong.
Nobody ever imagined this triple option team would be the one to end the streak against UGA. It took him one try.
A triple option wide receiver getting drafted, no way. Paul Johnson had 3 receivers at Georgia Tech get drafted.
Oh yeah, he won ACC Coach of the Year his first year at GT. He also led the team to a top 25 finish in his first season.
How many attempts did it take for him to beat a top 5 team? Once (#4 Virginia Tech in 2009).
He won the ACC Title in his second season.
All of these accolades accumulated within his first two seasons running an “out of date offense” at a power 5 school. It was only the beginning of Paul Johnson establishing a new culture at Georgia Tech.
Before Paul Johnson, Georgia Tech was just another program that occasionally would have an 8-10 win season. Even with 4 National Championships in the history of this program, in the 52 years prior to hiring Paul Johnson, Georgia Tech had won eight games just ten times. Paul Johnson, with a bowl win this season, would have his 6th eight win season in his eleven years on the Flats.
As the years wore on, Paul Johnson’s critics grew, but that didn’t stop him. People began whispering about firing him as they felt that the peak had been reached by the triple option offense and Paul Johnson. Then the 2014 season and Justin Thomas happened. An 11-3 season that ended in an Orange Bowl victory on New Year’s Eve. A season that saw Georgia Tech beat their four most hated rivals (Miami, Clemson, UGA, VT). A season that nearly saw Georgia Tech knock off Florida State in the ACC Championship, who was in the midst of one of the more impressive winning streaks in NCAA history.
That season alone should be what Georgia Tech strives for each season. There is no reason why a New Years 6 Bowl and competing for the ACC crown, especially with the way the Coastal is right now.
Paul Johnson has laid the foundation for something special to be built here. He leaves behind a roster full of young talent and has installed a new norm at Georgia Tech.
For the past 11 years, Georgia Tech has been reeling under the radar recruits. Paul Johnson did not care about the stars next to players name on ESPN. If he saw something in you would get that offer. He year in and year out would develop players and as AD Todd Stansbury put it, “fighting above their weight class”.
Coach Johnson, from all of us fans here at Georgia Tech, we say thank you. You helped bring some of the greatest moments in Georgia Tech history such as the Miracles on North Avenue and Techwood Drive. You made sure every player not left a better football player but a better man. So good luck in retirement Coach but first, let’s go get this Bowl win.
By: Bret Anderson | @Bret_A27