Jay Johnson returns in his role of overseeing the offense for the third season as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach and fifth year overall on the staff at Southern Miss. He joined Bower's staff in 2003 as the tight ends coach, before coaching the running backs in 2004.
In 2006, the Golden Eagles established a school record for total yardage (4,635), while also tying a mark for most plays (888) in a season as Southern Miss produced its first 1,000-yard rusher for a season since 2002, and the team rushed for over 2,000 yards for the first time since 1987.
The offense also was the top rushing team in the conference and No. 25 in the nation, as well as among the top in the conference in first downs and fewest sacks allowed.
That showing by the Golden Eagle offense followed one of the best seasons in recent memory in 2005, as Johnson guided an offense that netted 4,288 yards of total offense (1,336 rushing, 2,952 yards passing) and scoring 355 points (29.6 per game). The total offense was the fifth-best performance in school history, the passing yardage was the all-time best, the points scored were second most, while the passing yardage per game (246.0) was second.
His quarterback, Dustin Almond, had one of the best seasons ever by a Golden Eagle signal caller in 2005, as he set the single-season record for passing completions (216), passing attempts (392), and total offense (2,762), while throwing 23 touchdowns, the second most in school history.
In 2004, Johnson guided a solid stable of running backs, which averaged 144.9 yards per game, 22.8 more yards per game and six more rushing touchdowns than in 2003. Anthony Harris, Sherron Moore and Larry Thomas carried the majority of the load for the season.
Johnson helped guide senior tight end Terrell Browden to a successful season in 2003, when he earned All-Conference USA second-team honors and then signed a free agent contract with the Cleveland Browns.
He has extensive coaching experience and knowledge of several positions, including quarterbacks, receivers, defensive backs, running backs and tight ends.
Johnson has honed his coaching skills at a variety of levels and schools. He started his coaching career at Columbia-Hickman High School in 1993, serving as the quarterbacks, receivers and defensive backs coach.
In 1994, he moved to Missouri as a graduate assistant coach, later moving to Augsburg College, serving as the school's offensive coordinator and recruitment coordinator from 1994-95, before moving to that same position at Truman State from 1995-97. He directed Truman State's offense to an average of over 30 points and 400 yards a game during the 1995 and 1996 seasons.
He served as a graduate assistant at Kansas from 1997-99 and became its quarterbacks coach in 1999, serving in that role until 2001, when he moved to coach running backs and coached in that role before arriving at Southern Miss.
Johnson, a three-time All-Gateway Conference quarterback and four-time conference player of the week in his playing days at Northern Iowa, led his teams to a 31-8 record, and won three conference championships, while appearing in three national playoffs. He finished his career with almost 500 completions and threw for over 8,000 yards and 58 touchdowns.
He was elected team captain in both the 1991 and 1992 seasons. He quarterbacked the '92 team to a 12-2 record, a conference championship and the No. 3 ranking in the final NCAA Div. 1-AA poll.
Johnson also holds a variety of academic honors to go with his on-field prowess. He earned President's Academic Excellence honors in the Gateway Conference and held a perfect 4.0 grade point average while completing his master's degree at Missouri. That earned him a Superior Graduate Achievement Award from the Department of Health and Exercise48 2007 Southern Miss Footbal l Science, and he was a Dean's List scholar at Northern Iowa where he compiled a 3.47 GPA. He also taught several courses while at Truman State and Missouri.
He is married to the former Lori Ross, and the couple has one son, Cole.
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