NEW ORLEANS Saints receivers coach Curtis Johnson has taken on perhaps his toughest role to date after accepting the head coaching position for football at Tulane University Monday.
'There is no way I could dream something as great as this,' he said with emotion at the announcement of his hiring.
The man who has been part of developing an elite receiving corps that has helped Drew Brees set records will be going to a program that hasn't had a winning season in nine years and that has had a 31-76 record over that time.
Previous coach Bob Toledo left in midseason after Tulane started 2-5. They finished the season 2-11.
In addition there is the problem of attendance, or lack thereof at home games. Sparse is a kind word to describe the number of people in the stands at Green Wave contests.
But Johnson is known as a master recruiter who lured Future Hall of Fame Marshall Faulk to San Diego State and who also recruited such NFL standouts as Ed Reed and Reggie Wayne from the New Orleans area.
Saints head coach Sean Payton said Johnson would remain with the pro team for the balance of the regular season and post season but be allowed to assemble a staff. He was effusive in his praise for Johnson.
'I don't know how many good decisions Tulane has made about football recently,' he said at his Monday press briefing, adding that hiring Johnson was a very good move.
To show their support for Johnson, Payton and General Manager Mickey Loomis, along with several of the Saints receivers, were in attendance at Tulane's press briefing.
Johnson made it clear that he expected success, telling members of the current program that they would be lifting a trophy, and, he announced a commitment to trying to recruit the fertile ground of Louisiana.
'Watch out Louisiana recruits,' he said. 'We're coming for you.'
Johnson will have his work cut out as LSU owns the state in recruiting and usually gets almost any player it wants in the state.