YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – A new era of YSU football kicked off this spring with New Middletown native Doug Phillips taking over as head coach. He brought in basically an entirely new staff, including former Penguin All American Tim Johnson.
“This is a football city and football state, so I’ve always come back to Youngstown,” said Johnson. “This is like right in the heart of football.”
After his NFL career ended in 2008, Johnson came back to YSU to finish his degree, graduating in 2014. He’s held numerous youth football camps over the past seven years and this past week was officially named YSU’s new Director of Player Personnel, playing a crucial role in recruiting.
“Coach Phillips has been clear, we want to recruit local,” said Johnson. “We want local talent, we want in-state talent.”
Johnson has been working with the staff remotely for the past several weeks. It’s certainly been challenging with no spring football but Johnson is not making excuses.
“We call ourselves “Grit U”, you know the grit,” he said. “We want to be solid in knowing that we’re a blue collar town and adversity is typically how we advance every day, all day. So not to say it hasn’t been difficult but we work through any obstacle.”
Johnson called it a privilege to join the YSU coaching tree and said, he can’t wait to get back in the Ice Castle.
“When everything subsides and our fans come back out to support, I would really love the fan support,” said Johnson. “We’re looking to return to the pinnacle, return to glory, return to the championship model that’s been set before us.”