Keeping Johnson at Navy Just Got Tougher

Beating Army and Air Force – check. Winning the CIC Trophy – check. Going to and winning a bowl game – check. Being named coach of the year – check. Finishing the season in the Top 25 – check. Beating Notre Dame – check. That's a lot of checks for Navy's Paul Johnson, but they could pale in comparison to the one he may get thrown his way now that his resume in Annapolis is all but complete.

On a day when Navy fans were celebrating the end to a 43-year losing skid to the Fighting Irish, another notable program faltered for only the second time in 36 years against a rival opponent.  Kansas, which had put to bed its own 36 years of frustration against Nebraska two years ago, beat up the Cornhuskers, 76-39.


If Bill Callahan's fate wasn't sealed (tough to believe) before his team gave up 25 three-pointers and a free throw to the Jayhawks on Saturday, it definitely is now.  Nebraska fans have already circled Friday, November 23 on their calendars as the official day that interim athletic director Tom Osborne will announce that he has formed a committee to find a new coach.


There should be little doubt now that Osborne's committee will place a call to the Naval Academy.


And there should also be little doubt that it won't be the only call Paul Johnson receives this November and December.


In addition to area code 402 (for Nebraska), Navy officials should probably not be surprised to see the following area codes come up on their caller id as well: 404, 254, 979, 315, 479, and 919.  Those calls would be coming from head hunters representing football programs at Georgia Tech, Baylor, Texas A&M, Syracuse, Arkansas and Duke respectively. 


Navy's victory over Notre Dame brought a whirlwind of media attention because it ended the longest losing streak in the history of college football.  But don't be surprised to start hearing in the same media circles and on internet message boards around the nation about why the streak ended.  Because when people awaken from the post-Notre Dame victory haze, it will become clear exactly how the Mids were able to overcome seemingly insurmountable disadvantages to beat the goliath of the football world. 

(Editor's Note: Prepare yourself for some grammatically incorrect words.)


They outcoached them.  Specifically, Paul Johnson out-coached, out-maneuvered, out-strategized and out-everythinged his counterpart, Irish head coach Charlie Weiss.  This actually shouldn't come as much of a slight to Weiss because he is now a member of an expanding club of people who have been toyed with on the gridiron by Johnson.


I could list about two dozen coaches here who are official members of the "Out-coached by Johnson" club, but let's just say it includes current or former folks from Boston College, Pittsburgh, Duke, Air Force, Connecticut, Stanford, Army, Colorado State, New Mexico, and Rutgers (pre-football factory version).


So how will this all play out?  Will Johnson stay at Navy or will he be lured away to a place where he can make a run at another national championship, albeit a bit of a bigger one than the two he has already won at the Division 1-AA level. 


Time will only tell, but make no mistake, its hunting season in Annapolis again and there's a big prize waiting to be claimed.


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