You can almost set your watch by it: Paul Johnson was on the hot seat again this season.
It’s a story line that pops up every season no matter what Johnson has accomplished as Georgia Tech’s head coach. And it just makes no sense.
Johnson is a terrific head coach, and he has done a really good job at Georgia Tech. But for some reason that’s not good enough for a lot of Yellow Jackets fans, and the hot seat talk continued throughout this season.
Let’s hope it has stopped for a while. Johnson has earned that, and he proved it again Saturday with another win over Georgia. Johnson’s Yellow Jackets have won two of their past three games against the Bulldogs, and that gives him a 3-6 record against Georgia. That’s not good by any means, but it’s not bad considering Georgia Tech is 10-27 against Georgia since 1980.
Speaking of 1980, go back and compare Johnson to Georgia Tech’s head coaches during that time and see just how good Johnson has been.
Bill Curry was 31-43-4 in seven seasons with the Yellow Jackets, and he had one nine-win season. Curry had zero ACC championships, but that’s not exactly fair because Georgia Tech joined the conference in the middle of Curry’s tenure.
Bobby Ross is the gold standard for Georgia Tech coaches during this time period, and he was only 31-26-1 in five seasons. He did, however, win the national championship and one ACC title with his only 11-win season. Ross also had an eight-win season.
Bill Lewis? Yes Lewis was Georgia Tech’s head coach for two bad seasons. Enough said.
George O’Leary was Georgia Tech’s head coach for seven seasons, and he had 52-33 record and one shared ACC title. O’Leary had one 10-win season, one nine-win season and one eight-win season, and many Yellow Jackets look back longingly on his tenure.
Chan Gailey was with the Yellow Jackets for six seasons and went 44-32 with one nine-win season in a fairly nondescript tenure.
And then there’s Johnson; yep, that coach who should be fired. Johnson has a 69-48 record with three division titles and one ACC championship in nine seasons. He has two eight-win seasons, one nine-win season, one 10-win season and one 11-win season.
So that’s not good enough? Really?
Sure, Georgia Tech fans have the right to want more from their program, but if Georgia Tech fans are realistic about their program, they would appreciate what they have in Johnson. Maybe it’s the offense. Maybe it’s Johnson’s personality. But I’m not sure what the reason would be for fans wanting Johnson to go.
I’m not a huge fan of the offense, but it has worked, and I like Johnson’s personality. He’s smart, and he’s confident, and I like that in a head coach. And he wins games.
That’s a pretty good combination, and it’s time for Georgia Tech fans to appreciate that.