Mids' Johnson a hot topic

The Baltimore Sun

It seems every time a coach gets fired, Navy coach Paul Johnson's name appears on the list of most likely candidates for the job.

And why not? If Johnson's team wins Saturday's game against Army at M&T; Bank Stadium, he will have accomplished just about all there is to do at Navy.

So it was no surprise this week after Georgia Tech coach Chan Gailey was fired Monday that Johnson's name appeared in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution as one of 11 possible candidates for the job. The paper noted that Johnson, 50, is familiar with Georgia football, having coached at Georgia Southern from 1997 to 2001 and won Division I-AA national championships there in 1999 and 2000, while recording a 62-10 record.

Then yesterday, during a conference call, Johnson was asked whether he had been contacted by or has interviewed with Nebraska for its coaching job, which became available last weekend when Bill Callahan was fired.

"I'm only going to answer questions about the Army-Navy game," Johnson said. "That's where our focus is this week."

Pressed about his name surfacing in connection with several other openings, Johnson was asked how he and his team can keep from being distracted this week.

"It's never come up with the team," he said. "And it's been the same situation every year, and we're still here. The kids know that if something were really going on, I would tell them."

sandra.mckee@baltsun.com

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