Did you know a college hall of fame inductee was once in Picayune?

Published 7:00 am Friday, September 8, 2017

Former Dallas Cowboys Head Coach Jimmy Johnson has a long and interesting coaching career. He’s a two-time Super Bowl champion, Associated Press NFL Coach of the Year, NCAA national champion and Walter Camp Coach of the year recipient.

But what is most impressive is that the college football Hall of Fame inductee worked as the assistant football coach for Picayune Memorial High School in 1966 as his second coaching job.

Long after joining the Maroon Tide, Johnson built Miami into the notorious “The U.” Before, he began his journey as an assistant coach at Louisiana Tech University in 1965 when Phil

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Robertson, of the popular Duck Dynasty television show, was the starting quarterback. Johnson also found a gem in Terry Bradshaw as one of his first recruits of his coaching career.

Then, after missing out on a coaching job at Florida State University, he landed in Picayune.

Back in the 60s, Picayune was not the powerhouse football program it is today.

Johnson needed a place to work up the ranks to get to where he wanted to be, a coach in the NCAA. And after one year wearing maroon, he had that opportunity.

Picayune ended up being the only high school coaching gig he had his entire career, but after moving on to Wichita State, Iowa State, Oklahoma and eventually Miami, it boded well for his career.

In 1989, he was named the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys, but started 0-2 and mentioned PMHS in a press conference to the Associated Press at the time, saying, “ . . . I don’t guess I could compare it to coaching at Picayune High School. Getting ready for Bay St. Louis isn’t quite as tough as getting ready for the Washington Redskins.”

Johnson’s story tells one similar to that of the famous quarterback Brett Favre, which is that it doesn’t matter where you start, what matters is where you end up.