Jimmy Johnson Has Been Around the Football Block


November, 2016

National Scouting Combine

Jimmy Johnson, current Head Coach for Wright State University, has seen a lot when it comes to coaching football. After finishing his playing career at the age of 43 in 2010, Johnson began working as a scout and guest coach for the Chicago Slaughter of the Indoor Football League. Johnson would then go on to work for the Marion Blue Racers of the Continental Indoor Football League as a defensive back and linebacker coach. After several seasons with the Blue Racers, he was promoted to Assistant Head Coach and Defensive Coordinator.

In 2015, Johnson would be hired by his current employer, Wright State University, as the defensive back coach but would quickly be promoted midseason to Interim Head Coach, which would become a permanent position in 2016. In 2017, Jimmy will be working as the defensive coordinator for the Dayton Wolfpack of the new Arena Development League, which will play its first season in March 2017.

Through these experiences, Coach Johnson has seen a lot over his coaching career and knows what it takes to be successful in football. When he is looking for players to fill his rosters, Jimmy wants guys who are “physical, hard nose, fast and leaders.” Johnson believes in pushing his players so they can reach their highest potential. He instills the phrase “You have an opportunity in your hands, do something with it” into his team. In the huddle, Johnson’s teams always break town with “Team on three, family on six” to create a united locker room.


“The National Scouting Combine provides an opportunity to showcase a player’s physical, athletic ability in front of scouts and have stats recorded by a credible source”

In order to catch the eye of coaches, Johnson has some suggestions. He recommends being “prepared to get front of coaches” as much as possible even if it requires the player to make a financial investment. “Game film as a player (not just doing drills) that showcases the player’s ability on the field is always best, but having player stats on file with specifics recorded by a credible source (height, weight, 40-yard dash, short shuttle, hand size, wing span, etc.) is as important as film.”

One of the best places to accomplish this is at Beyond Sports Network’s upcoming National Scouting Combine. The event consists of similar trials to ones used for the NFL Combine. “The National Scouting Combine provides an opportunity to showcase a player’s physical, athletic ability in front of scouts and have stats recorded by a credible source,” says Johnson, who will be one of many coaches in attendance. More information about the event can be found on Beyond Sports Network’s website.

Johnson’s employer, the brand new Arena Development League, will be one of the many leagues looking for players to fill their rosters from the National Scouting Combine, which will open up many new opportunities. Jimmy sees the league as a great chance for players to create more material to give to coaches by having additional game film that can lead to future advancements. One of the reasons Johnson is so excited for the ADL is because the team owners are former players and coaches from the Arena Football League. He feels their advanced knowledge about the game will lead to lots of future success for the new league.

Besides coaching, Jimmy owns a business in Indianapolis, Indiana. He is married to his wife Jamey with who he has two daughters, Tori and Lauren.

by Paul Cohen (pcohen1@ithaca.edu)

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