Former Miami football coach Jimmy Johnson congratulated throughout social media

The announcement that Jimmy Johnson will be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio this summer ensures that this will be the third straight summer that a former Miami football coach or player is inducted.

Jimmy Johnson was 52-9 in five seasons with the Miami football program. In his final four years with the Hurricanes they were 44-4 with one National Title and one game away from winning three others. Johnson’s former players and staff members congratulated the architect of two dynasties on social media.

Johnson was just 29-25-3 in five seasons at Oklahoma State before being hired to become the head coach of the Miami Football program to succeed Howard Schnellenberger. The Hurricanes were coming off their first national championship when they hired a coach most people in South Florida had not heard of.

Had there been social media during that era Johnson’s hiring would have been widely panned by fans. Instead, Johnson came to Miami and built on the legacy that Schnellenberger established by going 41-16 in five seasons. That included an 11-1, 1983 season culminated by the shocking upset of Nebraska in the Orange Bowl.

Johnson’s tenure at Miami was so successful that it led to his teammate on the 1964 National Championship Arkansas team to hire him to resurrect America’s team, the Dallas Cowboys. Johnson succeeded the Cowboys only coach in their 29-year history at that point, Tom Landry. Landry won two Super Bowls and five NFC titles.


After the announcement that Johnson was going to be enshrined this summer the outpouring of love from those that worked with him was evident throughout social media. It began with a very emotional Johnson at the Fox Sports studios during halftime of the Green Bay Packers-Seattle Seahawks NFC playoff game.

Johnson was welcomed into the Hall of Fame by the organization’s president C. David Baker. He joins his Fox NFL Sunday co-hosts Howie Long, Tony Gonzalez, Michael Strachan and a very emotional Terry Bradshaw into Canton. Johnson’s former quarterback with the Cowboys Troy Aikman was watching from Green Bay.

Aikman was in the land of the frozen tundra announcing the game with Joe Buck, Erin Andrews and Chris Myers. Aikman paid tribute to Johnson early on Monday morning on Twitter. Among the Hall of Fame QB’s response to Johnson’s news of impending induction was that the Hurricanes former head coach recruited him to Coral Gables.

 

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My relationship w Jimmy Johnson spans over 35 years. He was the first to recruit me out of Henryetta High School when I was 17 while he was the head coach at Oklahoma State. Two years later when I was transferring from Oklahoma, he recruited me to the University of Miami. I chose UCLA. After turning him down twice, the Dallas Cowboys chose me as the #1 overall draft pick in 1989. We had a rough start, went through some difficult times, had stretches when we didn’t speak. What I’ve learned though in life is we remember those who make us better. Jimmy made me better, but more importantly, he made the Dallas Cowboys better. He was the architect of our 1990’s dynasty and while as our leader and coach, he should have been the first to be enshrined, I am so grateful he will have his rightful place in the @profootballhof – congratulations Coach! You’re gonna look good in gold! #howboutthemcowboys

A post shared by Troy (@troyaikman) on Jan 13, 2020 at 12:56am PST

Aikman published a lengthy tribute to his former coach who also recruited him at Oklahoma State before the third time was the charm when Johnson made number eight the first player he ever drafted and the top pick in 1988.

“My relationship w Jimmy Johnson spans over 35 years. He was the first to recruit me out of Henryetta High School when I was 17 while he was the head coach at Oklahoma State. Two years later when I was transferring from Oklahoma, he recruited me to the University of Miami. I chose UCLA.

After turning him down twice, the Dallas Cowboys chose me as the #1 overall draft pick in 1989. We had a rough start, went through some difficult times, had stretches when we didn’t speak. What I’ve learned though in life is we remember those who make us better.

Jimmy made me better, but more importantly, he made the Dallas Cowboys better. He was the architect of our 1990’s dynasty and while as our leader and coach, he should have been the first to be enshrined, I am so grateful he will have his rightful place in the @profootballhof – congratulations Coach!

You’re gonna look good in gold! #howboutthemcowboys”

No one personified the way Johnson coached with the Miami football program and the Cowboys more than Michael Irvin. Irvin was drafted by the Cowboys in the first round in 1987. He was played one season in the metroplex before they were reunited. Irvin might have been the originator of Miami Hurricanes swagger.

LSU head coach Ed Orgeron got the start to his football career as a graduate assistant on the 1988 MIami football staff. He had been a GA at Northwestern State and McNeese State and a strength coach at Arkansas, but Johnson bringing him to Coral Gables led to Orgeron being hired as Miami’s defensive line coach in 1989.

Johnson had already left for Dallas, but the foundation was set. Orgeron spent five seasons with the Miami football program winning two national championships. On Monday night, just over 24 hours after receiving the news of the culmination of Johnson’s enshrinement, Orgeron will coach LSU in the National Championship game.

Miami football fans always want the current Hurricanes to embrace the past, maybe too much. There was an outcry when Al Golden did not. Current Miami head coach Manny Diaz reached out to Johnson when he was hired last year. It has been lost in the shuffle during what was a difficult season.

Next: Miami must leave past behind and look towards future

Diaz will likely continue to bring Johnson in and meet with his staff. The entire Miami coaching staff last winter met Johnson at his Key West home to discuss football. Howard Schnellenberger was the founder of the highest level of Miami football. Johnson took into another level and made it a national brand.

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