Johnson: 'Truly a home run for me'

AUBURN - Ellis Johnson welcomed the opportunity Thursday to be the defensive coordinator on the staff of newly hired head coach Gus Malzahn.

A veteran of more than 30 years as a college coach and coordinator, 16 years in the Southeastern Conference, Ellis as officially as the first member of Malzahn's staff.

“I’m very fortunate for the opportunity to coach at Auburn and return to the Southeastern Conference, where there is so much tradition and history,” Johnson said. “I have a tremendous amount of respect for Gus Malzahn, both as a man and a coach, and I really look forward to working for him. Auburn has a wonderful family environment and is a great community, which is a blessing for me and my family. This is truly a home run for me. I can’t wait to get started and I’m ready to go to work.”

Malzahn, introduced Tuesday as Auburn's 26th head football coach, said Johnson brings everything he wants in a coordinator.

“Ellis is one of the top defensive minds in all of college football. He is very experienced and has tremendous success coaching in the Southeastern Conference,” Malzahn said. “He is a man of integrity who will be a great ambassador for Auburn. We’re very pleased to have him join our staff and bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to our program.”

Johnson will be introduced at a press conference Friday.

Johnson, 60, is married to the former Caroline Courie, a Columbia, S.C., native. They have two sons, Eli and Charlie, and a daughter, Sandra Elliott.

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