WAYNE, N.J.- It has been more than a decade since Dustin Johnson took the field at Sea Gull Stadium as the starting quarterback for the Salisbury University football team. Now, he will be squaring off against his Alma mater as the head football coach for William Paterson University in Wayne, New Jersey.
Johnson was named the new coach in late March. He will follow the tenure of Jerry Flora, who garnered a 33-67 record over the last 10 seasons. William Paterson is coming off one of its worst seasons in program history, losing all 10 of its 2017 match-ups.
“Right now it’s all about team building, team bonding and really just changing our overall culture here,” said Johnson. “Me being the new guy coming in here my only focus is to have attention to detail, making our players understand that the little things are important and that everyone is communicating with each other.”
In his four seasons playing with the Maroon and Gold, the Seagulls only lost five games with Johnson as the signal caller. He cemented his place in the program record books, ranking second in rushing yards and sixth in passing yards. He was named Atlantic Central Football Conference Rookie of the Year and earned ACFC Second Team Honors three times.
Following his playing career with the Seagulls, Johnson spent the next six seasons coaching the running backs and defensive backs. He then moved on to Stevenson University, where he served as the defensive coordinator for the Mustangs. He now will look toward the 2018 season where the two squads could potentially face off.
Johnson also spent time flashing the leather as a member of the Sea Gull baseball team, during which time he played for then Head Coach Doug Fleetwood, who also is the associate head coach and offensive coordinator for Salisbury’s football team. Johnson played under Fleetwood’s triple-option offense all four years.
“Coach Fleetwood was very organized and detail-minded. He wants you to do things 1,000 times the same way in order to get the desired result. He really taught us how to be stern in our approach to everything we do,” said Johnson.
The learning curve for his first head coaching job shouldn’t be a difficult one, using Salisbury Head Coach Sherman Wood as a mentor through the process and transition of coordinator to head of the program.
“The biggest thing Coach Wood told me was to be myself. Don’t change who you are. The best thing about Coach Wood was how good of a disciplinarian he was, without the feeling of having his players needing to be disciplined. He has great energy, great enthusiasm and always knows the right thing to say at the right time, which is something I’m hoping to inject into the program here.”
For more on Johnson, click here.