Feb. 21, 2000
LOS ANGELES -- Don Johnson has been hired to coach the UCLA defensive tackles, head coach Bob Toledo announced today. Johnson replaces Jethro Franklin, who was hired by the Green Bay Packers last week.
"We feel Don is an excellent addition to our staff," said Toledo. "He was highly recommended by members of the San Francisco 49ers staff, including (head coach) Steve Mariucci. Gene Murphy, the former head coach at Cal State Fullerton, also gave him a strong recommendation. I think he a fine teacher and will work well with our players and staff."
Johnson spent the last five seasons (1995-99) as an assistant at Nevada. His responsibilities included coaching the defensive ends as well as handling kickoffs and punt returns for the special teams. During that time, he also served an NFL summer internship with the San Francisco 49ers.
Prior to moving to Nevada, he spent eight years coaching at three different colleges in southern California. In 1987, he became an assistant at Riverside Community College and helped guide the team to four bowl appearances and a Junior College National Championship in 1989. He spent two seasons at Cal State Fullerton (1991-92) before the school dropped football and returned to Riverside Community College for two years before being hired at Nevada.
The new Bruin coach played football at Jersey City (NJ) State. A linebacker, Johnson earned a free agent tryout with the New York Jets and also spent time as a member of the USFL's New Jersey Generals.
Johnson graduated from Jersey City State in 1976 with a degree in physical education. He began his coaching career at Santa Ana Valley High School, working as an assistant from 1976 to 1982. In 1984, he moved to his alma mater, coaching linebackers at Jersey City State for three years. He returned to Santa Ana Valley High in 1986 and moved to Riverside Community College the following year.
Johnson and his wife Deborah have three adult children, Denise, Don Jr. and Duane.