Southern University track and field team took a major blow with the loss of its head coach and top sprinter.
Brian Johnson, who took over the program in 2010, is reportedly accepting a position as assistant track coach and recruiting coordinator at Georgia, the school announced Tuesday.
“On behalf of the university, I’d like to express my appreciation to Coach Johnson for all he has done to rebuild the track program in the past three years,” said William Broussard, Southern director of athletics.
“Brian has recruited stellar student-athletes to Southern and built both our men’s and women’s teams into perennial championship contenders. I wish him and his family well,” Broussard said.
Johnson was heralded for help guiding the men’s and women’s program through APR sanctions during his brief tenure in Baton Rouge.
Under his leadership, Southern placed second in the 2014 SWAC championships.
“My family and I will always be grateful for the opportunity Southern University has provided me and the university will provide us with fond memories,” Johnson said in a statement. “I am leaving this program in a very positive place. We have built a strong team that has proven the ability to compete at a national level. It was a difficult decision but, in the end, it is a good decision for me and my family.”
Sprinter Devin Jenkins, who is also leaving the program, was granted his release by the university, school officials confirmed.
Jenkins is the current 100-meter and 200-meter SWAC champion.
“He’s looking to move on, and we’re in the process of (finalizing his release),” Broussard said. “Hopefully we’ll be able to wrap it up by the end of the week. We want to do what’s best for him and what’s best for his family.”
Brussard, though, had attempted to get Jenkins to stay prior to his release.
Reports indicate that Johnson could enroll at Texas A&M and be eligible to compete immediately.