PIKEVILLE – Pikeville College didn’t have to search far for its fourth football coach. On Monday afternoon, defensive coordinator Joe Johnson accepted the task of leading the program.
Johnson served as assistant head coach and defensive coordinator during the 2008 season while coaching defensive backs and kickers. Despite its 2-9 record, the Bears were first in the Mid-South Conference against the pass.
In addition to his efforts with the defensive unit, Johnson coached junior Kyle Chilton through his first-team All-American season.
“We’re very pleased Coach Johnson has accepted our head coaching position,” said Dr. Michael Looney, president of Pikeville College. “He is an outstanding person who we believe will do the right things for our student-athletes. We believe he has the leadership to guide our program in the right direction.”
“Joe Johnson is the right person for this job,” said Robert Staggs, interim athletics director at Pikeville. “He is a quality person who has a strong set of values and the qualities we cherish here, and we’re thankful he has made the decision to accept this challenge.”
Johnson is a native of nearby Abingdon, Va., and has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Emory and Henry College in Emory, Va. His experiences on both the college and high school levels are vast; included in that is a two-year stint as head coach at North Greenville College in Tigerville, S.C.
In addition, Johnson was defensive coordinator and secondary coach at Lenoir-Rhyne College; recruiting coordinator, secondary coach and kicking coach at Charleston Southern University; director of football operations and recruiting coordinator at Appalachian State University; and assistant head coach, defensive coordinator and recruiting coordinator at Lees-McRae College.
“I’m very honored and humbled to be chosen to lead the Pikeville College football program,” Johnson said. “I want to thank President Looney and Robert Staggs for having the faith in me to offer me this opportunity, and we will do everything we can to show them they made the right decision. I love Pikeville College and believe in it, and am very excited about this opportunity.”
It was during his stint at Lees-McRae from 1986-1991 that he worked with Mac Bryan, who brought Johnson to Pikeville College this season. Under their direction, the Bobcats went 44-10-1, winning three Coastal Conference Championships and participating in five consecutive bowl games. In their tenure, Lees-McRae stayed in the nation’s top 11 in the junior college poll for four consecutive seasons.
Johnson has coached 13 position players who were named all-conference, nine kicking specialists who were so honored, six All-Americans and several players who went on to careers in the National Football League.
During his stint as head coach at North Greenville, he led the Crusaders to their first ever bowl game, the KWTO Bowl in Bolivar, Mo. In addition, he was Director of Athletics Ministries at the school.