Born in Columbia and worked the stands at Billy Brice as a teen. Went to Clemson and graduated in 1973 after playing Cornerback under Hootie Ingram, he lead the team in INTs in 1971 and 1972. Hootie went 12-21 while at Clemson, immediately following Frank Howard. After that he got a Master's from Furman in 1979, while also a defensive coach.
In 1980 he was a academic athletic counselor under Ford for one year. So dont make a big deal out of those who say "well he worked under Danny Ford, so I want him here"...one year is not long. He immediately went back to Furman where he rose to Defensive Coordinator, before coming back to Clemson under Ken Hatfield as the same in 1993. When West came in, he left for Furman again.
He had two losing seasons at Furman, between 1994-2001. Twice won the Southern Conference, and in '01 he took them to the 1-AA Title game. At Furman, he went 60–36.
Vandy hired him that offseason, his records the first 3 years were 2-10, 2-10, and 2-9. Yes, Gerry DiNardo got the job at LSU after 7 seasons at Vandy without a winning season, but a school like LSU would almost certainly not come calling on a Vanderbilt coach today if they had an opening. He abolished the Athletic Department at Vandy, embracing the idea of a true "student-athlete". He's never had a winning season at Vandy. His teams have beaten those they should beat for the most part, but they dont have the athletes to compete weekly in the SEC. So they tend to collapse down the stretch because of the competition in conference, getting to 5 wins twice, and losing many of their games by a TD or less. Most SEC teams now hate to play them. If you ask the coaches in the SEC they will tell you that week in and week out that Vanderbilt’s Bobby Johnson does more with his talent than anybody in the league. This year, they should get to 6 wins and make a bowl. They've been ranked for the first time since 1984. Under his direction, nine Vanderbilt Commodores have earned All-SEC recognition. He has produced 11 freshmen All-SECs, including SEC Freshman of the Year in 2002.
He has upset highly ranked Georgia, SC, and Tennessee teams while at Vandy. They beat Auburn earlier this year, but apparently Auburn sucks. He thumped the Chickens at home and at Vandy, but we know that doesnt help him since we already had a coach that could thump the Chickens. This leads me to one big upset over a Georgia team that played awful that day (as they tend to do at home sometimes in the early season) and finished 9-4, and Fat Phil's ability to fuck up anything at Tennessee.
He has improved recruiting, and many have been brought in and redshirted ala Jim Grobe, though notice above he had 11-ALL-Frosh. The standards at Vandy are far higher than other SEC schools, and they wont admit the partial qualifiers that the rest do. They do tend to be fundamentally very sound and they force turnovers well. The offense is more ball-control oriented as you would expect.
With the abolishment of the athletic department, football now comes under the whole budget at Vandy. This frees up more resources and their administration, if they commit to winning, might make it tougher for Clemson to get Johnson. If he wants the money, he'd come here, but at Vandy he is apparently wanting to prove that smart kids can win and play football in the SEC, and I'm not sure Clemson is what he wants for himself. Here many of us dont give two shits about whether they graduate so long as they win.