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.”