Jimmy Johnson is a former college and NFL head coach. Johnson was the first coach to win a national championship in college football (at the University of Miami) and a Super Bowl (with the Dallas Cowboys). Johnson led the Hurricanes to a 52-9 record over a five-year span. After building the Hurricanes into a national powerhouse, Johnson was hired as head coach of the Cowboys, winning back-to-back Super Bowl championships in 1992 and 1993. Johnson is currently a studio analyst on "Fox NFL Sunday." He also appeared on the reality TV competition, "Survivor: Nicaragua."
James William Johnson was born on July 16, 1943 in Port Arthur, Texas. Johnson graduated from Thomas Jefferson High School in his hometown and was a classmate of future rock singer Janis Joplin.
Johnson attended the University of Arkansas and was an all-Southwest Conference defensive lineman for head coach Frank Broyles. He was a member of the 1964 national championship football team and played alongside future Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.
Jimmy Johnson began his coaching career in 1965 as an assistant coach for Louisiana Tech University. After one year on the sidelines for the Bulldogs, Johnson took a position as an assistant coach at Picayune Memorial High School in Mississippi in 1966. In 1967, Johnson served as an assistant coach at Wichita State before working under head coach Johnny Majors at Iowa State University.
In 1970, Johnson served as a defensive line coach under Barry Switzer at the University of Oklahoma. Switzer was an assistant coach at Arkansas when Johnson was playing, and the two would become rivals later in their coaching careers.
Johnson returned to his alma mater in 1973 as a defensive coordinator under his former coach, Frank Broyles. Broyles retired in 1976 and Johnson was in the running to take over as head coach. Arkansas instead hired Lou Holtz, who had resigned as head coach of the New York Jets. Holtz was willing to hire Johnson on his staff, but Johnson decided to leave Arkansas and take an assistant coach position at the University of Pittsburgh.
Johnson worked under Jackie Sherrill in 1977 and '78. After more than 10 seasons as an assistant coach, Johnson landed his first full-time coaching job at Oklahoma State University in 1979. In Johnson's first season in Stillwater, he led Oklahoma State to a 7-4 record. After a decline in 1980 (4-7), Johnson led the Cowboys to the 1981 Independence Bowl against Texas A&M, losing 33-16. In his final season at Oklahoma State, Johnson's team went 8-4 and defeated Baylor in the Bluebonnet Bowl.
Holtz left the University of Arkansas in 1983 and Johnson interviewed for the head coaching position. However, the school hired Ken Hatfield, further straining Johnson's relationship with his alma mater.
University of Miami
Jimmy Johnson was hired as head coach of the University of Miami in 1984. Former head coach Howard Schnellenberger left the Hurricanes for a coaching position in the United States Football League after winning a national championship in 1983. Johnson was a relative unknown to the Hurricanes faithful.
In his first season as head coach, Johnson went 8-5 with two noteworthy defeats. In Miami's next-to-last regular season game, the Hurricanes blew a 31-0 halftime lead and lost 42-40 to the University of Maryland. The following week, Miami lost 47-45 in the infamous "Hail Flutie" game when quarterback Doug Flutie found Gerard Phelan in the end zone on a 48-yard Hail Mary pass as time expired.
Before the 1985 season, Johnson switched from Schnellenberger's 5-2 to a 4-3 defense. Miami started off the season with a loss against the University of Florida before winning four straight games. A 38-0 victory over the University of Cincinnati was the beginning of an NCAA-record 58-game home winning streak. Johnson led the Hurricanes to the Sugar Bowl against No. 8 Tennessee but lost 35-7 to the Volunteers. A victory over Tennessee would have put Miami in position for their second national championship, because No. 1 Penn State lost to Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl.
In 1986, Johnson faced fellow Arkansas alumnus Barry Switzer when No. 2 Miami took on No. 1 Oklahoma during the regular season. Prior to the game, both sides engaged in trash talk, but quarterback Vinny Testaverde threw for four touchdowns and led Miami to the 28-16 victory. Miami went on to finish 11-0 in the regular season and accepted a bid in the Fiesta Bowl against No. 2 Penn State.
Johnson's teams at the University of Miami had the reputation of being cocky and arrogant and eventually became known as the "Bad Boys of College Football." This was evident prior to the Fiesta Bowl, when the team arrived to Arizona dressed in military fatigues and later walked out of a dinner with both teams in attendance. However, Penn State upset the Hurricanes 14-10 as Miami turned the ball over seven times.
Johnson and the Hurricanes bounced back in 1987 and won the school's second national championship, going undefeated (12-0) for the first time in the program's history. Twelve of Johnson's players from his 1987 team were selected in the NFL draft. Miami's attempt at back-to-back national championships was foiled after losing in the "Catholics vs. Convicts" game against Notre Dame, who would eventually win the national championship. During Johnson's tenure at Miami, he went 52-9, winning his lone national championship in '87.
In 1989, Jimmy Johnson left Miami to become the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys, replacing Tom Landry. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones was a teammate of Johnson at the University of Arkansas and decided to hire him. Johnson was also reunited with wide receiver Michael Irvin, who played for Johnson at Miami.
During the 1989 season, the Cowboys traded running back Herschel Walker to the Minnesota Vikings for five players (Jesse Solomon, David Howard, Issiac Holt, Darrin Nelson, Alex Stewart) and eight draft choices, including three first-round picks. It would go down as the largest trade in NFL history and mark the start of the Dallas Cowboys' dynasty. Behind rookie quarterback Troy Aikman, Johnson and the Cowboys went 1-15 in 1989, the worst record in franchise history. In the 1990 NFL draft, using one of their first-round picks from the Vikings, Dallas selected running back Emmitt Smith from the University of Florida. Smith rushed for 937 yards and 11 touchdowns to earn NFC Offensive Rookie of the Year honors. Despite Dallas' 7-9 record, Johnson was named the AP's NFL Coach of the Year.
Johnson's turnaround of the Cowboys continued in 1991 as Dallas went 11-5 and made the playoffs for the first time since 1985. In an NFC wild-card game, Dallas defeated Chicago 17-13, but lost in the divisional round 38-6 to the Detroit Lions.
Just three seasons after going 1-15, Johnson completed the turnaround in 1992 when the Cowboys went 13-3 and advanced to Super Bowl XXVII. Dallas was the youngest team in the NFL, but that didn't stop them from blowing out the Buffalo Bills 52-17 in Super Bowl XXVII. With the win, Johnson became the first coach to win a national championship in college football and a Super Bowl championship.
Despite an 0-2 start in the following regular season, Johnson and the Cowboys won back-to-back Super Bowl championships in 1993. Johnson joined a group of five other coaches to win consecutive Super Bowl championships. The two Super Bowl titles weren't enough to resolve the friction between Johnson and Jones, though. On March 29, 1994, Johnson announced his resignation as head coach.
After a two-year hiatus from coaching, Jimmy Johnson was hired as head coach of the Miami Dolphins to replace the legendary Don Shula in 1996. Johnson went 8-8 in his first season as coach of the Dolphins and failed to make the playoffs. The Dolphins improved to 9-7 in 1997, making the playoffs before losing to the New England Patriots in an AFC wild-card game. Johnson's best season as coach of the Dolphins came in 1998 when he led Miami to a 10-6 record and a second-place finish in the AFC East. The Dolphins defeated the Buffalo Bills in an AFC wild-card game before losing 38-3 to the Denver Broncos.
Johnson resigned as head coach following the 1998 season but changed his decision after one day following a discussion with quarterback Dan Marino. After starting the season 7-1, the Dolphins lost five out of their final six games to end the regular season. After rallying past the Seattle Seahawks in an AFC wild-card game, the Dolphins were demolished 62-7 by the Jacksonville Jaguars. A day after the playoff loss, Johnson once again resigned as head coach.
Jimmy Johnson, who was a television analyst for two years at Fox Sports after stepping down as head coach of the Dallas Cowboys, returned as part of their NFL pregame show. Outside of the NFL, Johnson also served as a studio analyst for the network's coverage of the Bowl Championship Series.
In 2010, Johnson appeared as one of the 20 contestants on "Survivor: Nicaragua." Johnson had tried twice in the past to appear on the reality show. He was selected for "Survivor: Gabon," but doctors discovered Johnson had an arterial blockage during the physical. As a result, Johnson changed his diet and started working out. At 67, he was the oldest contestant this season. He was the third contestant voted off the show after declaring himself the weakest member of the squad in the Tribal Council.
In 1993, Johnson wrote "Turning The Thing Around: My Life In Football."
Johnson is also a spokesman for ExtenZe, a natural male enhancement.
Jimmy Johnson was married to Linda Kay Cooper before divorcing in 1990. The couple had two sons together, Brent and Chad. Johnson married Rhonda Rookmaaker in 1999. The couple resides in Islamorada in the Florida Keys.
|Birth Date||July 16, 1943|
|Hometown||Port Arthur, TX|
|Career Record||NFL: 80-64|
|Super Bowl Wins||2|
|NCAA Bowl Wins||3 (1 championship)|
COLLEGE COACHING RECORD
|1981||Oklahoma St||7-5-0||L, Independence|
|1983||Oklahoma St||8-4-0||W, Bluebonnet|
|1984||Miami (FL)||8-5-0||L, Fiesta|
|1985||Miami (FL)||10-2-0||L, Sugar|
|1986||Miami (FL)||11-1-0||L, Fiesta|
|1987||Miami (FL)||12-0-0||W, Orange*|
|1988||Miami (FL)||11-1-0||W, Orange|
|*Won national championship|
NFL COACHING RECORD
|*Won Super Bowl|