Ellis Johnson named Auburn's defensive coordinator - Tri-State News, Weather & Sports

Ellis Johnson named Auburn's defensive coordinator

Ellis Johnson (Source: WDAM-TV) Ellis Johnson (Source: WDAM-TV)

Ellis Johnson, one of the best respected defensive minds in college football, has been named Auburn's defensive coordinator, head coach Gus Malzahn announced Thursday. Johnson is a 30-plus year coaching veteran who has 16 years of experience coaching in the Southeastern Conference. 

"Ellis is one of the top defensive minds in all of college football. He is very experienced and has tremendous success coaching in the Southeastern Conference," Malzahn said. "He is a man of integrity who will be a great ambassador for Auburn. We're very pleased to have him join our staff and bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to our program." 

Johnson's coaching career has included head coaching stops at Southern Miss (2012), The Citadel (2001-03) and Gardner Webb (1983).  Prior to his stop at Southern Miss, Johnson was at South Carolina for four years (2008-11), where he served as the Gamecocks' defensive coordinator, while also holding the title of assistant head coach.  

"I'm very fortunate for the opportunity to coach at Auburn and return to the Southeastern Conference, where there is so much tradition and history," Johnson said. "I have a tremendous amount of respect for Gus Malzahn, both as a man and a coach, and I really look forward to working for him. Auburn has a wonderful family environment and is a great community, which is a blessing for me and my family. This is truly a home run for me. I can't wait to get started and I'm ready to go to work." 

Along with his four years at South Carolina, Johnson has logged stints as the defensive coordinator at Appalachian State (1984), Southern Miss (1988-89), Clemson (1995-96), Alabama (1997-2000) and Mississippi State (2004-07). He has coached in four SEC Championship games, has been part of one national title and has placed numerous players on NFL rosters. 

While defensive coordinator at South Carolina, Johnson also served as linebackers coach. In his final season with the Gamecocks, his defense ranked third nationally, allowing just 268 yards per game. Under Johnson, South Carolina finished in the Top 15 nationally in total defense three times. In addition to the 2011 mark of No. 4 overall, the USC defense ranked No. 13 in scoring defense (18.8 points per game) and second in pass defense (133 yards per game). 

A native of Winnsboro, S.C., Johnson logged two stints at Alabama. He was the defensive coordinator and outside linebackers coach from 1997-2000, helping the Crimson Tide go 10-3 in 1999 with an SEC title and a spot in the Orange Bowl. His 1999 defense was No. 2 in the nation against the rush and No. 9 in total defense. 

He served as the outside linebackers coach from 1990-93, helping Gene Stallings' teams go a combined 41-9, including an undefeated national championship year in 1992. Alabama's defense ranked No. 1 that season against the run and in total defense.  

The Tide ran off a 31-game winning streak and a 34-game unbeaten streak from 1991-93. The 1991 squad went 11-1. All four of those teams played in bowl games.

A 1975 graduate of The Citadel, Johnson played defensive end for the Bulldogs. He began his career as the defensive ends coach at his alma mater under Bobby Ross in 1975 before working as an assistant coach at Gaffney (S.C.) High School from 1976-78 and as both an assistant and head coach at Spartanburg (S.C.) High School from 1979-81. 

He is married to the former Caroline Courie, a Columbia, S.C., native. They have two sons, Eli and Charlie, and a daughter, Sandra Elliott.

INFORMATION SOURCE: Auburn Athletics Dept.

  • 14 WFIE, The Tri-State's News LeaderMore>>

  • Transcript: Malzahn introduces his OC and DC

    Transcript: Malzahn introduces his OC and DC

    Auburn football press conference: with head coach Gus Malzahn, defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson and offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee (December 7, 2012) Malzahn: I told you I was going to take myMore >>
    Auburn football press conference: with head coach Gus Malzahn, defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson and offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee (December 7, 2012) Malzahn: I told you I was going to take myMore >>
  • SEC FootballSEC CoverageMore>>

  • Georgia CB Parrish not ruled out for opener after surgery

    Georgia CB Parrish not ruled out for opener after surgery

    Sunday, August 20 2017 3:42 PM EDT2017-08-20 19:42:20 GMT
    Source: FacebookSource: Facebook

    Georgia coach Kirby Smart says there is still a chance cornerback Malkom Parrish could be ready for the start of the season following surgery last week to repair a broken bone in his foot.

    More >>

    Georgia coach Kirby Smart says there is still a chance cornerback Malkom Parrish could be ready for the start of the season following surgery last week to repair a broken bone in his foot.

    More >>
  • Coach O talks to media after preseason scrimmage

    Coach O talks to media after preseason scrimmage

    LSU head football coach Ed Orgeron will meet with the media, as LSU gets ready to begin the fall semester and the Tigers gear up for a hopefully success season.

    More >>

    LSU head football coach Ed Orgeron will meet with the media, as LSU gets ready to begin the fall semester and the Tigers gear up for a hopefully success season.

    More >>
  • Auburn Fan Day offers chance to meet favorite players and coaches

    Auburn Fan Day offers chance to meet favorite players and coaches

    Friday, August 18 2017 9:23 PM EDT2017-08-19 01:23:31 GMT
    (Source: WSFA 12 News)(Source: WSFA 12 News)

    Auburn fans have the opportunity to gather on the plains and meet their favorite athletes and coaches Saturday as Auburn holds its annual Auburn Fan Day. Fans will get the chance to meet the 2017 Auburn Football players and coaches. According to auburntigers.com, head coach Gus Malzahn will be located on the bottom floor of the Auburn Athletic Complex, but the football Tigers won't be the only Auburn University Athletics team at fan day. According to the website, the Aubur...

    More >>

    Auburn fans have the opportunity to gather on the plains and meet their favorite athletes and coaches Saturday as Auburn holds its annual Auburn Fan Day. Fans will get the chance to meet the 2017 Auburn Football players and coaches. According to auburntigers.com, head coach Gus Malzahn will be located on the bottom floor of the Auburn Athletic Complex, but the football Tigers won't be the only Auburn University Athletics team at fan day. According to the website, the Aubur...

    More >>
Powered by Frankly