Tide Coach Retiring

Stability has been a trademark of Mike Shula's tenure as Alabama's head football coach, but BamaMag.com has learned that Shula will have to make at least one staff change at season's end.

Multiple sources told BamaMag.com that current Strength and Conditioning Coach Kent Johnston plans to retire at the end of the football season. According to those sources, Johnston told Shula in August that he plans to retire to Texas and will leave athletics to enter private business.

Shula has often credited Johnston for his return to Alabama's rigorous "lower gym" workouts in winter conditioning.

Shula is in the middle of his third season in which his on-the-field coaching staff has remained entirely in tact.

Asked about the story, Shula said, "We don't have any announcement to make about that." Asked if he disputed the report, Shula repeated, "We don't have any announcement to make."

Johnston has strong ties in the state of Texas. He was born in Mexia, Texas, and graduated from Stephen F. Austin before getting his master's degree at Alabama. Johnston was a graduate assistant strength and conditioning coach at Alabama in the 1980s when Shula was a player at Alabama. He and Shula served together on Ray Perkins' Tampa Bay Bucs staff in the late 1980s.

Johnston had been a 14-year veteran of the NFL before coming to Alabama, working mostly with Green Bay Packers and Seahawks head coach Mike Holmgren.

Shula hired Johnston after the 2003 season from the Seattle Seahawks to replace Ben Pollard, who came in with Dennis Franchione but did not initially follow him to Texas A&M. It was Shula's only staff change.


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