Pepper Johnson gets first head coaching gig
Former New York Giants linebacker Pepper Johnson started his coaching career shortly after retiring as a player in 1998.
Johnson first worked for the New England Patriots from 2000-2013, then he spent time with the Buffalo Bills (2014) and New York Jets (2015-16). He most recently coached for the Los Angeles Wildcats of the XFL before going to IMG.
Now Johnson has been named the head coach at IMG Academy. He was previously their defensive coordinator.
“We’re excited to welcome Pepper into the Head Coach role after witnessing the positive impact he has had on the development of our student-athletes in his role as Defensive Coordinator,” IMG Academy Athletic Director Scott Dean said. “Pepper brings more than 30 years of collegiate and NFL playing and coaching experience, having personally guided the careers of more than a dozen Pro Bowl athletes, and we’re looking forward to watching him guide our National Team into the 2021 season.”
It sounds like the players are excited to play for Johnson.
“I have a great relationship with Coach Pep, he’s a great coach and he really cares about us,” IMG quarterback AJ Duffy told Sports Illustrated. “I’m fired up for this season!”
“He’s a player’s coach, real old school, but willing to do anything to make us better and to have a good time!” offensive lineman Tyler Booker told SI. “He’s going to demand the most out of us.”
Johnson also seems very excited of course for his new role.
“IMG Academy has built an incredible program that has attracted some of the most talented high school players in the country,” said Johnson. “I’m looking forward to moving into the Head Coach position where I can play an even greater role in helping shape their futures by imparting what I’ve learned in my decades as both player and coach at the highest levels of the game.”
Johnson will have a lot of pressure on him now to perform with IMG being one of the best programs in the country.
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