Iowa football coach Kirk Ferentz lost another member of his original coaching staff Saturday when the University of Iowa announced that Eric Johnson was leaving the Hawkeye program after 15 years as an assistant coach.
Johnson stepped down to pursue a career opportunity outside of football.
“I know Eric and his family have given this decision great attention and thought, and we all wish them the best as they move forward,” said Ferentz. “Eric has been a valued staff member since he joined our original staff in 1999 and has made many contributions to our program and team as a coach, recruiter and mentor. I am very appreciative of Eric’s efforts and his commitment to Iowa and wish him all the best in the future.”
Johnson has served as the team’s recruiting coordinator for the past 10 years and also has assisted with the defensive line the past two seasons. He coached the Hawkeye tight ends from 2003-2007 and from 2010-2011 and assisted with the linebackers in 2008 and 2009.
Johnson followed former defensive coordinator Norm Parker to Iowa from Vanderbilt, where he worked as a graduate assistant from 1996-98.
“My family and I can’t thank everyone enough for our 15 years at Iowa,” said Johnson. “It has been a great time in our lives. From a family standpoint, we had a chance to raise our children in a tremendous community. From a professional standpoint, I have worked for the best person in college football. Coach Ferentz is the best teacher, leader and person I have ever been around; he truly embodies the Iowa way.”
Johnson has been heavily involved in Iowa’s recruiting efforts since joining the Hawkeye staff. He ranked as one of the top 10 recruiting coordinators in the country by Tom Lemming in 2001 and was named one of the top 10 recruiters in the Big Ten Conference by rivals.com in 2007.
“I want to thank all the student-athletes who I have known throughout my time at Iowa,” added Johnson. “Their hard work, dedication and character are what have made coming to work every day enjoyable. They will always be part of our family and we will always be Hawkeyes.”
Johnson announced on Twitter Saturday that he and his family will be moving to Nashville, Tenn., and opening up a Culver’s restaurant in Hendersonville, Tenn. The restaurant is set to open Nov. 1. Johnson and his wife, Patsy, have twin daughters, Jamie and Sydney.
Iowa will conclude spring drills with the spring scrimmage Saturday at 2 p.m. in Kinnick Stadium. Pre-event activities begin in Krause Family Plaza at 11:30 a.m., with gates to Kinnick Stadium opening at 1 p.m.