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Tulane vs. Louisiana-Lafayette, Saturday, Dec. 21, 2013
Tulane vs. Tulsa - Oct. 26, 2013 - Mercedes-Benz Superdome
Tulane head football coach Curtis "CJ" Johnson talks to the media on the 2012 National Signing Day.
When Tulane Director of Athletics Rick Dickson began his national search for a young, up-and-coming candidate to become the Green Wave's next head football coach in the fall of 2011, he didn't have to look far. In fact, he didn't have to go beyond the metro area. Dickson's search ended at the doorstep of the NFL world champions New Orleans Saints.
Curtis Johnson, Jr. was tabbed as the 39th head football coach in school history on Monday, December 5, 2011. Johnson made the short trip to the Tulane campus after spending the previous six seasons (2006-2011) as the wide receivers coach for the New Orleans Saints.
A New Orleans native and graduate of St. Charles High School, Johnson, 51, has over 25 years of coaching experience from both the collegiate and professional levels and was a part of an NFL Championship with the Saints and a Bowl Championship Series National Championship with the University of Miami (Fla.) Hurricanes in 2001.
In his first season as the head coach of the Green Wave, two players received All-America honors, including Cairo Santos, who became just the fifth player in school history, and the first since 1941, to earn consensus first team All-America honors and was also the winner of the prestigious Lou Groza Award, which is presented to the nation's top place kicker, and Darion Monroe received honorable mention freshman All-America honors from College Football News.
Johnson's rookie campaign also saw three players named to the All-Conference USA First Team, including Santos, receiver Ryan Grant and deep snapper Billy Johnson, while a total of nine players received All C-USA honors. Senior quarterback Ryan Griffin quickly benefitted from Johnson's pro-style offense and signed as a free agent with the hometown Saints shortly after the 2013 NFL Draft concluded.
Off the field, quarterback Ryan Griffin and safety Sam Scofield were each named to the Conference USA All-Academic Football Team, while 29 of his football student-athletes were named to the C-USA Commissioner's Honor Roll and six players received a C-USA Academic Medal for sporting a 3.75 grade-point-average or higher.
When Johnson was named head coach, he stated during his introductory press conference that his priority for recruiting would be to recruit within the city of New Orleans and the state of Louisiana and create the "State of Tulane." During his first signing day in 2012, he was able to ink 13 players from the state, including nine from the New Orleans area, and this past spring he signed 20 players from Louisiana and a total of 13 from New Orleans-area schools.
Johnson returned to New Orleans in 2006 after forging a reputation for developing top-flight targets on the college level for over two decades, and his stature steadily grew on the NFL level.
During his time with the Saints, he and his electrifying receiving corps helped the franchise to its first NFL title in 2009 and New Orleans made playoff appearances in four of his six seasons. The Saints were rewarded with outstanding results from his wide receiver group during his time with the storied franchise.
In five and a half seasons, Johnson worked with both veteran and young wide receivers, with each benefiting from his guidance and high-energy teaching style. Among the players who improved under his watch through their own dedication and his tutelage were Marques Colston, Devery Henderson, Robert Meachem, Joe Morgan and Lance Moore.
Johnson boasts a list of prominent pupils that very few coaches at any level can match. While specializing with wide receiver development, the group of standouts under his direction while at University of Miami (Fla.) and his prior stop at San Diego State includes some of the top wide receivers over the last decade, including NFL first-round picks Andre Johnson, Santana Moss, fellow New Orleans native Reggie Wayne and Yatil Green.
At Miami (Fla.), Johnson was part of a staff that went to nine bowl games and won the 2001 National Championship. He polished the skills of at least one All-Big East performer each season from 1996-2005, including Johnson - the third overall pick by Houston in 2003 - and Moss, who became the Hurricanes' all-time leader in receiving yardage before making the Pro Bowl for the Washington Redskins. Wayne departed ranked first in school history in catches and was a five-time Pro Bowl performer for the Indianapolis Colts.
In his five-year stint at San Diego State (1989-93) Johnson landed some of the school's biggest recruits, including 2000 NFL MVP and fellow New Orleans native Marshall Faulk, who was recently inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame, as well as wide receiver Darnay Scott, who completed his eight-year NFL career with 408 grabs and 37 touchdowns. Each year Johnson was with the Aztecs, the school had an all-conference performer at wide receiver.
Johnson began his coaching career as a receivers coach at Lewiston (Idaho) High School in 1984, serving for three seasons before holding a similar position at the University of Idaho. He spent 1987 and 1988 at the school before becoming the receivers coach at San Diego State. His next stop was at Southern Methodist in 1994 before becoming wide receivers coach in 1995 at the University of California-Berkeley.
Johnson attended the University of Idaho and received his bachelor's degree in physical education in 1985. He was a four-year starter for the Vandals and an All-Big Sky Conference selection.
Johnson and his wife, Angel, have six children, Janene (31), Kiejon (28), Curtis III (23), and Aaron (20), Angele (21) and Justin (20). Johnson serves as a deacon at his church, First African Baptist Church in New Orleans.
Education: University of Idaho, 1985
Date of Birth: Nov. 5, 1961
Sons: Curtis III, Aaron and Justin
Daughters: Janene, Kiejon, Angele
1980-83, University of Idaho, football letterman
Also lettered twice in track and field
Johnson's Coaching Experience
|Years||Team, Position Coach|
|20011-Present||Tulane, Head Coach|
|2006-11||New Orleans Saints, Wide Receivers|
|1996-2005||University of Miami, Wide Receivers|
|1995||University of California, Wide Receivers|
|1994||SMU, Wide Receivers|
|1989-93||San Diego State University, Wide Receivers|
|1987-88||University of Idaho, Wide Receivers|
|1984-86||Lewiston (Idaho) High School, Wide Receivers|
Johnson's Bowl Experience
|2005||Peach Bowl||University of Miami|
|2004||Peach Bowl||University of Miami|
|2004||Orange Bowl||University of Miami|
|2003||Feista Bowl||University of Miami|
|2002||Rose Bowl/National Championship||University of Miami|
|2001||Sugar Bowl||University of Miami|
|2000||Gator Bowl||University of Miami|
|1998||MicronPC Bowl||University of Miami|
|1996||Carquest Bowl||University of Miami|
|1991||Freedom Bowl||San Diego State University|
Johnson's NFL Postseason Experience
|2006||New Orleans Saints||NFC South Champions/NFC Championship Game Participant|
|2009||New Orleans Saints||NFC South Champions/NFC Champions/Super Bowl XLIV Champions|
|2010||New Orleans Saints||NFC Wildcard Participant|
Johnson's Prominent Pupils
|Marques Colston||New Orleans Saints|
|Robert Meachem||New Orleans Saints|
|Lance Moore||New Orleans Saints|
|Tony Gaiter||University of Miami|
|Jammi German||University of Miami|
|Yatil Green||University of Miami|
|Andre Johnson||University of Miami|
|Andre King||University of Miami|
|Ed Reed||University of Miami|
|Santana Moss||University of Miami|
|Roscoe Parrish||University of Miami|
|Reggie Wayne||University of Miami|
|Will Blackwell||San Diego State University|
|Marshall Faulk||San Diego State University|
|Patrick Roe||San Diego State University|
|Darnay Scott||San Diego State University|
|Bobby Shaw||University of California|
|Iheanyi Uwaezuoke||University of California|