Brandon Johnson, who was drafted by the Cardinals in 2006 and played seven NFL seasons, has been hired to lead Betty Fairfax (Laveen, Ariz.) High School’s football program.
Athletic Director Kevin Belcher put out a release, saying, “Coach Johnson brings passion and experience as a leader and innovator.”
Johnson, 36, a 6-foot-5, 245-pound linebacker, who played college football at Louisville, had a four-year stint at Gilbert High School (Ariz.) as defensive coordinator. He had a coaching internship with the Oakland Raiders last year.
He met with the Fairfax players for the first time Tuesday morning.
“I want to get them to bond from the bottom to get to the top,” Johnson said.
Gilbert head coach Derek Zellner said he believes Johnson will “do a spectacular job.”
“I couldn’t be more happy for Coach Johnson as embarks on his new position,” Zellner said. “Coach Johnson is a class act and the faculty, students, and community members are very lucky to be getting a person of his stature.”
Johnson played nine total games in 2006 and ’07 with the Cardinals, before joining the Cincinnati Bengals, where he played four seasons, starting 15 games. He played his last season in the NFL with the Pittsburgh Steelers, appearing in 14 games. Johnson had 224 tackles, 3.5 sacks and three interceptions in his NFL career.
This will be Johnson’s first head coaching job. He replaces Dylan Winemiller, who stepped down last month. Winemiller won 34 games in five seasons as head coach and led the Stampede to a 7-3 record last season.
“Everybody has to get a first head coaching job,” Belcher said. “This is definitely the right fit. He’s a great character guy.”
Johnson will lead the players through spring football, which begins April 29. The school is working to get him on faculty for next academic year.