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Cal Football

Brian Johnson Named Head Football Athletic Performance Coach

January 15, 2021

BERKELEY – Cal head football coach Justin Wilcox announced Friday that Brian Johnson has agreed to become the Golden Bears' head football athletic performance coach. Johnson has spent the past 11 seasons on strength & conditioning staffs at FBS schools and in the NFL including the last three campaigns as the director of strength & conditioning at Arizona (2018-20), where he heavily implemented sports science while also working as a liaison between the football program and the university's Center for Innovation in Brain Science.

Johnson started his career as an assistant strength & conditioning coach at Florida State (2010-11) before being hired as the head strength & conditioning coach at Akron at the age of 27. Johnson spent the offseason prior to the 2012 campaign at Akron before his alma mater, LSU, came calling. He spent three seasons as the assistant strength & conditioning coordinator with the Tigers (2012-14) then held similar roles with the San Francisco 49ers (2015-16) and at Texas A&M (2017).

"Brian will be a tremendous asset to our football program," Wilcox said. "He has been an integral part of several top football strength & conditioning programs over the past decade at the highest levels of collegiate and professional football, and that experience will allow him to hit the ground running. His ability to develop and motivate our student-athletes through hard work and character building in addition to his scientific and data-driven approach align well with the philosophy of our football program."

"I want to enhance the tremendous culture that coach Wilcox and his staff have already built at Cal by echoing the messages they are already giving to our student-athletes," Johnson said. "I'm looking forward to becoming part of this environment while building relationships and trust with a great group of young men who share the hunger of our coaching staff to win championships. I will do everything the game demands to prepare our student-athletes for practice and competition while always making sure to keep the health, safety and well-being of our student-athletes front and center in all of our decision-making and training methods. I will also work closely with university and community health officials on the strict COVID-19 protocols needed to keep our student-athletes as safe as possible."

"Brian joins us with over a decade of collegiate and professional strength & conditioning experience, and he is the perfect choice for the leadership of our football athletic performance program," added assistant athletic director for athletic performance Mike Blasquez. "Brian's coaching style and philosophy optimally integrates the use of scientific principles, character building and objective physiologic performance data to maximize player development, team culture and injury prevention. Brian will have an immediate positive impact on the direction of Cal football."
Brian Johnson, Cal Head Football Athletic Performance Coach

A member of bowl staffs and winning teams in each of his first six collegiate seasons as a coach, starting with two campaigns at Florida State (2010-11) before three at LSU (2012-14) and one at Texas A&M (2017), with three of his first four teams (2010, '11, '13) each winning 10 contests

Helped Florida State to a combined 19-8 record, including victories in the Chick-fil-A Bowl (2010) and Champs Sports Bowl (2011), in his first two seasons as an assistant strength & conditioning coach with the Seminoles ranked as high as No. 16 in 2010 when they recorded a 10-4 mark and No. 5 in 2011 before finishing 9-4

LSU posted a combined 28-11 record, finished ranked in the AP Top 25 three times (No. 14, 2012 and '13; No. 23, 2014) and reached three bowl games including a victory at the Outback Bowl (2013) during his three campaigns as an assistant strength & conditioning coach at his alma mater with the Tigers going 10-3 in 2012, 10-3 in 2013 and 8-5 in 2014

Also served as the football program's academic liaison while at LSU

Helped a 7-6 Texas A&M club to a berth in the Belk Bowl in his lone season with the Aggies in 2017

Arizona tenure was highlighted by a 44-15 victory over No. 19 Oregon in his first season in 2018 and a four-game win streak to open the 2019 campaign in which the Wildcats won the final three with fourth-quarter comebacks and outscored their opponents 25-3 in the final period

Has coached 76 players during his nine collegiate seasons that have been selected in the NFL Draft including a total of 11 first rounders including six in 2013 with the complete list including Florida State's Christian Ponder (2011), Eli Manuel (2013), Xavier Rhodes (2013) and Björn Werner (2013), as well as LSU's Barkevious Mingo (2013), Eric Reid (2013), Odell Beckham Jr. (2013), Kelvin Benjamin (2014), Leonard Fournette (2017), Jamal Adams (2017) and Tre'Davious White (2017)

Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist through the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA)

Certified in Functional Range Conditioning

Holds a USA Weightlifting Level 1 Coaching Certification and is a certified Corrective Exercise Specialist (CES) through the National Academy of Sports Medicine

Played in 44 games with 28 starts during five seasons as a collegiate offensive lineman at LSU from 2002-06 with his teams combining for a 54-13 overall record, one national championship (2003), one SEC championship (2003), two SEC Championship Games (2003, '05), three bowl victories (2003 Sugar Bowl, 2005 Peach Bowl, 2006 Sugar Bowl) and bowl appearances in each of his five campaigns

Earned second-team All-SEC honors as a fifth-year senior in 2006

Signed as an undrafted free agent with the Arizona Cardinals in 2007 but was released after training camp before spending a pair of seasons on practice squads with playoff teams in Tampa Bay (2007) and Baltimore (2008) as well as a second and final campaign on injured reserve with the Ravens in 2009

Brian Johnson Coaching History
Seasons: Team – Position (Postseason)
2010: Florida State – Assistant Strength & Conditioning Coach (ACC Atlantic Division Champion, ACC Championship Game, Chick-fil-A Bowl)
2011: Florida State – Assistant Strength & Conditioning Coach (Champs Sports Bowl)
2012 (Offseason): Akron – Head Strength & Conditioning Coach For Football
2012: LSU – Assistant Strength & Conditioning Coordinator (Chick-fil-A Bowl)
2013: LSU – Assistant Strength & Conditioning Coordinator (Outback Bowl)
2014: LSU – Assistant Strength & Conditioning Coordinator (Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl)
2015: San Francisco 49ers – Assistant Strength & Conditioning Coach
2016: San Francisco 49ers – Assistant Strength & Conditioning Coach
2017: Texas A&M – Assistant Strength & Conditioning Coach (Belk Bowl)
2018: Arizona – Director Of Strength & Conditioning for Football
2019: Arizona – Director Of Strength & Conditioning for Football
2020: Arizona – Director Of Strength & Conditioning for Football
Brian Johnson File
Birthdate: March 24, 1984
Hometown: Tallahassee, Fla.
High School: Godby HS
College: LSU, 2006, BA, General Studies; Concordia University Irvine, MA, Coaching and Athletic Administration, 2019
Family: Wife – Angela; Son – Deacon; Daughter – Chandler

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