American Football Database
American Football Database
Larry Johnson
File:Larry Johnson coach.jpg
Johnson at Penn State in 2007
Current position
TitleDefensive line coach
TeamPenn State
ConferenceBig Ten
Biographical details
BornWilliamston, North Carolina
Playing career
1970–1973Elizabeth City State
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
Penn State (DE/ST)
Penn State (DL)

Larry Johnson (born c. 1952) is an American football coach, currently serving as defensive line coach at Penn State University. He is the father of NFL running back Larry Johnson and former Penn State wide receiver Tony Johnson.

Collegiate coaching career

A native of Williamston, North Carolina, Johnson has been the defensive line coach at Penn State since 2000. From 1996-1999 he served as the Nittany Lions' defensive ends and special teams coach. In that time, Johnson has become a national power in recruiting, consistently landing top talent from the mid-Atlantic states.

He has been instrumental in the development of five first-team All-Americans: Devon Still, first-round NFL draft choices Tamba Hali, Michael Haynes, and Jimmy Kennedy, and former #1 overall selection Courtney Brown.[1]

Johnson was offered the defensive coordinator and assistant head coach job at Illinois in January 2009. He ultimately decided to continue at Penn State.[2]

On November 10, 2011 Tom Bradley announced that Johnson and Linebackers coach Ron Vanderlinden would serve as co-defensive coordinators. [3]

On January 7, 2012, Johnson was retained as a coach on the team's staff with the arrival of new head coach Bill O'Brien.

High school coaching

A legendary prep coach in the state of Maryland, Johnson was a six-time coach-of-the-year, and architect of one of the winningest football programs in the Maryland public school system. From 1983-91, Johnson's teams at Maurice J. McDonough High School in Pomfret, Maryland were annually ranked among the top squads in the Washington, DC metropolitan area. In his final eight years, his teams amassed an 82-10 record, made eight consecutive appearances in the state playoffs, were 8-2 in championship games and captured three Division 3A state championships (1983, 1985, and 1990). His overall record as head coach was 139-36.

From 1992-93, Johnson was head coach at T. C. Williams High School in Alexandria, Virginia (made famous by the film Remember the Titans), hired by his brother AK Johnson, the school's Athletic Director.

Career as a player

Johnson was a standout linebacker at Elizabeth City State University,[4] earning NAIA All-America honors there in 1973. After graduation, he played one season in the NFL with the Washington Redskins.[1]


Johnson maintains a very close relationship with his son Larry, who has repeatedly referred to his father as his "best friend" and "the only person in the world he completely trusts" in interviews.[5] Johnson's younger son Tony, was a starting wide receiver for Penn State from 2000-2003. Johnson was initiated as a member of Iota Phi Theta fraternity while attending ECSU.


External links