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Malzahn adds Ellis Johnson to Auburn staff

Marshall Southern Miss Football AP

Just a little over a week after getting the heave-ho after just one season at Southern Miss, Ellis Johnson has officially landed on his coaching feet.

Following up on reports that emerged Thursday morning, Auburn announced that new head coach Gus Malzahn has hired Johnson to serve as the Tigers’ defensive coordinator.

“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 in a statement. “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 spent 16 seasons as an assistant in the SEC, including coordinator stints at Alabama (1997-2000), Mississippi State (2004-07) and South Carolina (2008-2011).  He left the Gamecocks to become the head coach at Southern Miss, but was fired after his first and only season in Hattiesburg after guiding the Golden Eagles through a winless 2012 campaign.

“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.”

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12 Responses to “Malzahn adds Ellis Johnson to Auburn staff”
  1. cochranlawyer says: Dec 6, 2012 2:19 PM

    So auburn fans were mad when chizik was hired and he was something like 11-19. Now auburn hires a defensive coordinator who was o-for in his most recent and first stint as head coach. Oh the auburn fan base is gonna love this move. My guess is more and more auburn fans in Alabama are going to start becoming Alabama fans. Can u say Roll Tide?

  2. pacific123ocean says: Dec 6, 2012 2:28 PM

    Great hire! He may have been a lousy head coach, be he is a good DC.

  3. ronin262 says: Dec 6, 2012 2:28 PM

    Unlike the clown who posted first, i think this is a very good hire for Auburn. He has been in the SEC for years and produced some very good defenses. Last year’s South Caroline defense was formidable and produced two first round NFL picks in Stephon Gilmore and Melvin Ingram. Malzahn is off to a good start. Optimism so far for the Auburn fans.

  4. chc4 says: Dec 6, 2012 2:50 PM

    “Auburn has a wonderful family environment”

    This is actually very true. Most Auburn football players have 2+ kids by 2+ different women.

  5. thefiesty1 says: Dec 6, 2012 3:51 PM

    Didn’t he just go 0-12 at SoMiss? Hummm!

  6. 1990tiger says: Dec 6, 2012 3:58 PM

    chc4 says:

    Most Auburn football players have 2+ kids by 2+ different women.

    Don’t be mad at your mama for being such a slut. She was just attracted to a man in uniform.

  7. blitz4848 says: Dec 6, 2012 4:11 PM

    C’mon. Smarten up! There are really good c0-0rdinators who failed as HCs in BOTH college and the pros.

    Everyone isn’t cut out to handle the whole program but they can and do handle the OC or DC jobs quite well.

    Malzahn is an excellent ex DC so he of all people recognizes a coach who has the background and qualities he wants in his DC.

    Ellis Johnson will do just fine at Auburn…..

  8. kozbee says: Dec 6, 2012 5:34 PM

    Ellis Johnson is a top notch DC and will do fine @ Auburn.Very few will make it as a headcoach,Ellis will do well as a cord. and is a good recruiter.Its good that Gus cleaned house and will hire those he believes will do the job and rebuild Auburn as once was.Goodluck to Auburn fans teams and coaches.My understanding that he fired the weightroom coach also.Clean house Gus.

  9. floridacock says: Dec 6, 2012 6:56 PM


    So do you remember the last time he was DQ against a #1 Alabama? They lost

  10. normtide says: Dec 6, 2012 7:34 PM

    Johnson is a great DC. He will have his work cut out for him. That fast paced offense puts a huge strain on the defense. The goal will be to get just enough defense to win, if Ellis can do that, AU will win plenty.

  11. thegamecocker says: Dec 6, 2012 8:01 PM

    Good luck Coach Johnson:

    Ellis is no fool. Check his bank account! Not too shabby! He’s definitely part of the 2% who will pay more in taxes.

  12. christopher525 says: Dec 6, 2012 9:04 PM

    Apparently most of these people haven’t heard of a guy named Wade Phillips. He’s HORRIBLE as a head coach, but one of the best DC’s in the league.

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