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Daily Debrief, 6/6/22: Former Navy coach Paul Johnson on the HOF ballot

Johnson has an overall record of 189-100 between stints at Georgia Southern, Navy and Georgia Tech.

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NCAA Football: Georgia Tech at North Carolina Nell Redmond-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to the Daily Debrief, a semi-daily-ish download of news related to sports at the Service Academies, and the intersection of sports and the military.

Former Navy football coach Paul Johnson is on the ballot for the 2023 College Football Hall of Fame class. He is one of nine FBS coaches on the ballot this year.

“It’s quite an honor to be on the ballot and in my mind it’s a reflection of all the people I had a chance to work with,” Johnson said in a statement. “I always valued my time at Navy, it’s certainly a very special place and I got the opportunity to deal with special people. It was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.”

A coach becomes eligible for the hall of fame after three full seasons of retirement. Johnson, 64, left Georgia Tech after the 2018 season.

Johnson has an overall record of 189-100 between stints at Georgia Southern, Navy and Georgia Tech. He was most successful during his time in Statesboro, Ga., winning two FCS (then called Division I-AA) national championships. At Navy, he brought along his triple-option offense, took the Mids to five bowl games and went a combined 11-1 against Army and Air Force, winning five straight C.I.C. trophies. At Georgia Tech, Johnson’s Yellow Jackets won the ACC in 2009, and the Orange Bowl in 2014.

His fingerprints are all over Service Academy football to this day, as Navy’s Ken Niumatalolo and Army’s Jeff Monken studied under Johnson at various stops.

Other coaches on the ballot this year include Mark Richt, Frank Solich, Darryl Rogers, Ralph Friedgen, Larry Coker, Larry Blakeney, Jim Carlen and Pete Cawthorn.

Notes and links

  • Air Force and Army both lost in the NCAA Baseball Tournament this past weekend. Air Force fell to Texas, while Army was eliminated by Kennesaw State.
  • WBAL NewsRadio 1090 AM / 101.5 FM and the Naval Academy Athletic Association have agreed to a multi-year extension to its long-running partnership that will keep the station as the flagship of the Navy Football Radio Network. As part of the agreement WBAL NewsRadio will air every Navy Football game, including a 60-minute pre-game show and a 30-minute post-game program.
  • Six Navy football players have been named to the preseason American Athletic All-Conference team by Athlon Sports. They are: Kip Frankland, Donald Berniard, John Marshall, Maquel Haywood, Lirion Murtezi and Bijan Nichols.
  • Navy ranked 24th in the nation this season for attendance at wrestling matches, with an average turn out of 950 fans. That was more than Maryland, Virginia and Air Force. Per, Army didn’t track attendance for wrestling matches.
  • Here’s a quote from Jeff Monken: “I was really happy for our team that we were able to finish the season with a win in the bowl game and win over a Power 5 team in the SEC. That’s a big win for our program. It doesn’t fill the hole that we feel in the loss to Navy, and nothing will fill that that void. The elation of celebrating on that field after you beat your biggest rival — there’s nothing like it. So, it was a good year. It wasn’t a great year. A great year is a year we beat Navy and win the Commander-in-Chief’s trophy.” More on Army football at The Athletic.
  • Veryl Switzer, a Green Bay Packers running back who became a lieutenant in the Air Force, died Saturday. He was 89. (ESPN)

Non-Sports headlines

  • Elite World War II soldiers to receive Congressional Gold Medal more than 70 years after the war (CNN)
  • Top US general: Ukraine will keep getting ‘significant’ support (Military Times)
  • Navy pilot is second to die in four Super Hornet crashes in California desert in three years (Stars and Stripes)
  • Most military recruits come from families of people who served. Experts say that’s not sustainable. (NPR)