Tulane introduces new head football coach

December 6, 2011 5:45 AM

Nick Marinello

There was a liberal amount of black and gold sprinkled amid the green and blue trappings of the Wilson Athletics Center on Monday (Dec. 5) as Tulane University introduced New Orleans Saints receivers coach Curtis Johnson as the new Green Wave head football coach.

Curtis Johnson

New head football coach Curtis Johnson makes the short trip from the New Orleans Saints facility to Tulane’s campus. Johnson has 25 years of experience as a collegiate and NFL coach. (Photos by Paula Burch-Celentano)

Johnson, who was on the sidelines when the Saints won the 2010 Super Bowl in Miami, made a promise to his new players: “I just want to say, guys, get ready. You guys are going to be champions. You will hold a trophy up.”

Along with his family and friends, Johnson received a show of support from Saints head coach Sean Payton and general manager Mickey Loomis, who were seated in the front row. Several players from the Saints receiving squad were also in attendance. Toward the end of the press conference, Johnson asked the players to join him at the front of the room.

The presence of NFL stars such as Marques Colston, Robert Meachem and Lance Moore — all who have thrived with the Saints under Johnson’s tutelage — seemed to be intended to back up the coach’s earlier promise.

Curtis Johnson

After the press conference, Tulane defensive tackle Kenny Welcome (from left) and receiver Xavier Rush talk with New Orleans Saints receiver Lance Moore. Moore was in attendance to support his coach, Curtis Johnson.

Johnson, a native of nearby St. Rose, La., received the strongest response from the crowd of Tulane constituents when he talked about recruiting.

“Louisiana recruits,” he announced, “we are coming to get you. This doesn’t mean that we are going to stop searching all over the country, but look out, because you are on our radar already. This is now the state of Tulane.”

In addition to his five years coaching with the Saints, Johnson spent 10 years (1996–2005) coaching receivers at the University of Miami, during which he went to nine bowl games, including the national championship.

During the question-and-answer session, Johnson received a query from his current boss, Sean Payton, who was seated next to Tulane President Scott Cowen.

“Once a month, if I’m having problems with these guys, will you come back and help?” asked Payton, jokingly referring to the Saints receivers.

“Ask the president,” replied Johnson.

Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000