Tulane announces Curtis Johnson’s firing

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Mackenna Barker, Online Sports Editor

The Curtis Johnson era of Tulane football came to a close Friday night as Johnson coached his final game as Tulane head coach in a 45-34 loss to Tulsa in Yulman Stadium. Saturday morning, Tulane officially announced Johnson’s firing.

Johnson, native to New Orleans, spent his time as a receiving coach at the New Orleans Saints before coming to Tulane to take on his first head coach position. His first year with the Wave, Tulane finished 2-11. The following year, Johnson and Tulane bounced back to a 7-6 season finish. The Wave spent the last two years in the American Athletic Conference, finishing at a subpar 3-9 both years.

“He’s a great coach,” senior safety Darion Monroe said. “I think he did a great job here. He did a great job recruiting. We kept a lot of guys in state. A lot of guys on this team have bright futures. We are very young, which is unfortunate. We have a lot of inexperienced guys playing. Being that this is the fourth year, I think he did a great job — him and the rest of the coaches with recruiting and getting guys to stay home.”

Johnson finished his four-year career with the Wave with an overall 15-34 record and brought Tulane to a bowl appearance in 2013, its first in 11 years. With a brand new stadium on campus but just six wins between the last two seasons, however, Tulane decided on the need for change.

“I want to thank CJ for his hard work and his dedication to rebuilding the Green Wave football program,” Athletic Director Rick Dickson said. “His efforts were rewarded in 2013 when Tulane reached its first bowl in 11 years. Since then, however, the program has not progressed to the level that we aspire to.”

Tulane is also in the process of searching for a new athletic director, as Dickson announced in late September that he intends to retire in June 2016. The new AD is expected to be announced this week. Once the new AD is selected, the school will begin the process of recruiting a new head coach immediately.