GREENVILLE, S.C. -- Bobby Johnson, who spent 24 years as a football coach at Furman University, including eight as head coach, has been elected to the South Carolina Athletic Hall of Fame, it was announced today.
Johnson is part of a seven-member South Carolina Athletic Hall of Fame Class of 2017 who will be enshrined with the state's highest athletic honor on May 15 at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center. Other inductees include former NFL defensive backs Andre Goodman and Donnell Woolford, Major League baseball pitcher Kris Benson, basketball standouts Tony Dunkin, Bob McCullough, and the late Willie Simon.
Tickets and program sponsorships may be purchased by calling the SCAHOF office (803) 779-0905. The affair, which features a reception and dinner, is scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m.
A Columbia, S.C., native, Johnson was a standout basketball, baseball, and Shrine Bowl football player at Eau Claire High School, who continued his athletic career at Clemson, where he played both wide receiver and cornerback, leading the Tigers in interceptions in the 1971 and '72 seasons and twice earning Atlantic Coast Conference All-Academic honors.
He came to Furman in 1976 as an assistant coach under Art Baker, and later served on the staffs of Dick Sheridan (1978-80; 82-85) and Jimmy Satterfield (1986-92) before being named the program's head coach in 1994.
As an assistant coach, he played a key role in Furman compiling a 132-53-7 record over 16 years, including a 91-31-3 mark in his 10 seasons as defensive coordinator. In 1988 he directed a Paladin defensive unit that led the nation in scoring defense (9.7 ppg) en route to a school record 13-win season (13-2) and 1988 NCAA I-AA (FCS) national championship.
In his third year (1996) as head coach Johnson returned Furman to national prominence, guiding the Paladins to a 9-4 record and playoff appearance, and over his final three seasons directed Furman to a 30-9 record, including a 28-3 win over North Carolina in 1999, three playoff appearances, two Southern Conference Championships, and 2001 NCAA I-AA (FCS) national runner-up finish.
All told, he tallied a 60-36 record as the Paladins' head coach and had a significant hand in 10 of Furman's 13 SoCon football crowns in his 24 seasons in Greenville. He also recruited and coached two future NFL players — tight end Luther Broughton and free safety John Keith — as well as 14 All-Americans.
Johnson's coaching honors at Furman include AFCA Region II Coach of the Year (1996), Southern Conference Coach of the Year (1999), and AFCA Region II and National Coach of the Year (2001), as well as Charleston-Palmetto Touchdown Club South Carolina Coach of the Year (1996 & '01).
He served as head coach for eight seasons (2002-09) at Vanderbilt, helping lead a Commodore program to its first winning season since 1982 and 16-14 win over Boston College in 2008 Music City Bowl — Vanderbilt's first bowl victory since 1955.
Johnson earned his bachelor of science degree in management from Clemson in 1973 and added a master's in education from Furman in 1979.
A 2009 Furman University Athletic Hall of Fame inductee, Johnson currently serves as a member of the NCAA Football Playoff Committee.
Furman is well represented in the South Carolina Athletic Hall of Fame, which includes 25 enshrined former athletic and coaching greats: Lyles Alley, J.W. "Pinky" Babb, Art Baker, Beth Daniel, Darrell Floyd, Frank Ford, Nield Gordon, W.N. "Bill" Gressette, Stanford Jennings, Betsy King, Bob King, Billy Laval, James "Pepper" Martin, Jerry Martin, Clyde Mayes, Dottie Pepper, Dewey Proctor, Lee Rhame, Paul Scarpa, June Scott, Frank Selvy, Jimmy Satterfield, Dick Sheridan, J.H. "Speedy" Speer, and Sam Wyche.
Hunter Reid, Furman Sports Information