Brian Johnson, Utah's quarterbacks coach for the past two years, has been elevated to offensive coordinator, head coach Kyle Whittingham announced today amid a staff restructure.
"After spending the past month conducting a national search for an offensive coordinator, it became very apparent that we had the best candidate for the job right here on our own staff," said Whittingham of his decision to promote Johnson, who turns 25 on Feb. 16. "Brian is a leader and a special coaching talent, just as he was a special player, and he is the right person to lead our offense," said Whittingham, who in 1995 became Utah's defensive coordinator after just one year as an assistant coach.
Johnson, the winningest quarterback in Utah history during his career (he was 26-7 as the starter in 2005, 2007 and 2008) and the MVP of the 2009 Sugar Bowl, will continue to coach the quarterbacks in his new position.
"I am excited that Coach Whittingham has given me this opportunity and I am prepared for the challenge," said Johnson. "I'm looking forward to working with a great coaching staff and putting together a productive offense that will help us win a conference championship. I've had many good mentors as a player and a coach, including Dan Mullen, Andy Ludwig, Aaron Roderick and Norm Chow."
Johnson's promotion was part of a staff restructure that includes promotions for Kalani Sitake and Aaron Roderick. Sitake has assumed the title of assistant head coach and will continue his role as the defensive coordinator and linebackers coach. Roderick, in his eighth year coaching the receivers, will also serve as the passing game coordinator.
In other staff moves, Dan Finn, a Utah graduate assistant from 2004-06, has been hired to coach the centers and guards. Finn spent last season as the offensive line coach at San Diego State and the previous four years as the offensive line coach at Idaho (2007-10). Tim Davis, Utah's offensive line coach in 2011, will now concentrate on coaching the tackles and tight ends.
Jay Hill, in his eighth season as a full-time assistant, takes over the running backs. Hill has served two different stints as the cornerbacks coach, most recently in 2010 and 2011, and oversaw the tight ends from 2007-09. He remains Utah's special teams coordinator.
Sharrieff Shah, a starting safety for the Utes from 1990-93 and a three-year team captain, returns to his alma mater to coach the cornerbacks. Shah, a Salt Lake City attorney since 2001, was a certified NFL agent from 1996-2002, representing players in the NFL, CFL and NFL-Europe. He received his bachelor's, master's and law degrees from the University of Utah. Shah has also served as the team's sideline reporter for ESPN 700 radio for the past 12 years.
Brian Johnson Named New Offensive Coordinator
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