Georgia Tech head football coach Paul Johnson has a long history with the state of North Carolina. He is a native of Newland, NC, received his bachelor’s degree from Western Carolina and earned his master’s degree at Appalachian State.
For a man who was born and educated in North Carolina and has spent over 30 years coaching football, it is relatively surprising that Johnson hasn’t worked at a school in his home state since a short stint as the offensive coordinator for Lees-McRae in the early 1980’s.
The Yellow Jackets’ next two opponents are Duke (in Durham) and UNC (in Atlanta). When Coach Johnson joined The David Glenn Show on Wednesday, he was asked about never having been a head coach at a North Carolina.
“I don’t know, It just never seemed to work out,” Johnson said. “There were some times where maybe I had some opportunities to do that, but it didn’t seem like the right time or the timing was off.”
“Early on in my career they didn’t make much of an effort to hire me,” Johnson added.
DG has spoken on air over the years about coaching searches he followed and reported on when Johnson was as a candidate for jobs at ACC schools in and out of North Carolina. Knowing the success Johnson has had, and the opportunities to hire him that may have been missed, DG wouldn’t blame Johnson if he took extra satisfaction in beating schools that had passed on him.
“Certainly not,” Johnson answered at first. And though he conceded that answer might be a bit tongue in cheek, he wouldn’t go so far as to name which schools he may enjoy beating more than others. Coach Johnson does seem of the mind that past decisions stay in the past, and no one benefits by dwelling on them.
“You don’t worry about that,” Johnson said of teams that may have overlooked him. “I’ve been blessed. I’ve had the opportunity to coach at some great schools. I’ve been around great young people, like at the Naval Academy, and our guys here at Georgia Tech are top rate. I don’t have any regrets.”
Employment opportunities aside, Johnson has plenty of other motivation these next two weeks as Georgia Tech’s only regular season ACC losses last year came at the hands of Duke and UNC.
Johnson talked to DG about those upcoming games and how the Yellow Jackets plan to bounce back from a loss at Notre Dame. Listen to the full interview below.