Jimmy Johnson

Coaching Record

Years Coached Record Win % Playoff record Playoff win %
9 80-64-0 55.56% 9-4 69.23%

Coaching Tree

Children:

Dave Campo, Butch Davis, David Shula, Norv Turner, Dave Wannstedt


Biography

Career Summary

Jimmy Johnson was a football coach in the National Football League (NFL) from 1989 to 1999, finishing his career as the head coach of the Miami Dolphins. Over his nine years of coaching his teams compiled a cumulative win/loss record of 80-64-0. During his career he was a head coach for nine seasons, first with the Dallas Cowboys. He led the Cowboys for five seasons, compiling a record of 44-36-0. During his time leading the Cowboys the team won the Super Bowl in 1992 and 1993. His next head coaching stint was with the Miami Dolphins from 1996 to 1999, as he led the team to a 36-28-0 record. During his entire head coaching career, his two teams combined for a record of 80-64-0 across nine seasons including going 9-4-0 in the playoffs. Johnson was enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2020 after his coaching career.

Career Awards

Johnson won the NFL's Coach of the Year award in 1990 after guiding the Cowboys to a 7-9-0 record and a six-win improvement over the previous season. During the 1990 and 1993 seasons as the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys he coached Emmitt Smith to the Most Valuable Player and AP Offensive Rookie of the Year.

Jimmy Johnson Coaching Tree

During his time as head coach, five assistant coaches, (Dave Campo, Butch Davis, David Shula, Dave Wannstedt, and Norv Turner) on his coaching staff were hired as head coaches across the league. His coaching tree has combined for a record of 265-337-1 in the regular season and 6-8 in the playoffs during their thirty-eight seasons as head coach after serving on his coaching staffs.

Table of Contents

Playing Career

University of Arkansas

Johnson played college football at the University of Arkansas between 1962 and 1964. During his career as the Razorbacks’ nose guard, he helped lead the team to the national championship in 1964 when he was named to the All Southwest Conference team. Additionally, he was named to the Razorbacks’ All-Decade team of the 1060s, and was later inducted into Arkansas’ state athletic hall of fame in 1988, followed by the university’s hall of fame in 1999.

During his time in Arkansas, he played with future Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.

Coaching Career

Assistant Coaching Positions

Louisiana Tech University

Despite his successful college career, Johnson went undrafted in the 1965 NFL draft. Johnson expected to remain in school and pursue a Master’s degree, but that summer he received an offer to work as an emergency coach for Louisiana Tech due to the defensive coordinator suffering a heart attack before the season.

Since Johnson was familiar with the defense, he agreed to coach the defensive line for three months. This set him up for his future Hall of Fame coaching career. In his inaugural season, the team went 4-4.

Picayune High School

After his first season completed, Johnson had expected to coach at Florida State. However, this job fell through at the last minute, leaving Johnson in desperate need for a coaching gig. He settled on coaching the defense at Picayune High School in 1966, coming off consecutive 0-10 seasons. In his only high school position in his career, Picayune continued their losing streak, finishing a third consecutive season 0-10.

Wichita State University

In 1967 Johnson returned to the college ranks as an assistant coach at Wichita State University, under new head coach Boyd Converse. The Shockers went 2-7-1 in Johnson’s only season at the school.

Iowa State University

In 1968, Johnson moved to Iowa State to take the defensive coordinator position under head coach Johnny Majors. Majors coached at Arkansas during Johnson’s playing career and was the coach who recommended the original Louisiana Tech position to him back in 1965.

During his two seasons in Ames, the Cyclones went 3-7 both seasons.

University of Oklahoma

Johnson moved to another Big 8 school in 1970, serving as the defensive line coach for University of Oklahoma under head coach Chuck Fairbanks. He coached for the Sooners for three seasons. His first season represented his first-ever winning season as a coach when the Sooners finished 7-4-1. The team reached even higher in the next two seasons, finishing both 11-2 and ranked #2 nationally.

Return to Arkansas

Johnson returned to his alma mater in 1973 as the Razorbacks’ defensive coordinator under his former head coach Frank Broyles. During his four seasons back with the team, the team went to one bowl game, the Cotton Bowl, in 1975 following a 10-2 season. After the 1976 season, Broyles retired and Johnson hoped to be named the new head coach. Unfortunately for Johnson, the team went with Lou Holtz as the new head coach, and Johnson left Arkansas.

Pittsburgh University

Johnson’s last assistant coaching stop took him to Pittsburgh University in 1977 as the team’s assistant head coach and defensive coordinator. Johnson coached the Panthers for two seasons, going 9-2-1 and 8-4 with two bowl appearances. During his tenure he was introduced to Dave Wannstedt, a coach he would work with across several of his eventual head coaching positions.

Head Coaching Career

Oklahoma State University

In 1979, Johnson earned his first head coaching position, leading him back to the state of Oklahoma. During his five seasons at Oklahoma State, his teams combined for a record of 29-25-3 with two bowl appearances.

University of Miami

Johnson’s career took a major step forward in 1984 when he was hired as the new head coach of the Miami Hurricanes. The Hurricanes were coming off a national championship in 1983, but the team stumbled in Johnson’s first season, only going 8-5. However, the Hurricanes only lost four games combined over the remaining four seasons of his tenure. His college coaching career pinnacle occured in 1987 when he led the team to the national championship, finishing the season undefeated at 12-0. In fact, only five points prevented the Hurricanes from completing three consecutive 12-0 seasons between 1986-1988.

Dallas Cowboys

Johnson entered the NFL in 1989 as the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys. Johnson’s former college teammate Jerry Jones purchased the team in the 1989 offseason and immediately fired hall of fame coach Tom Landry following several poor seasons. Jones’s second act as the new owner was hiring Johnson to lead the team.

However, the team struggled his first year. The Cowboys went 1-15, their second worst season ever, only surpassed by their first season in 1060. The team quickly rebounded, improving to 7-9 in 1990 with Johnson winning coach of the year. They continued to improve in 1991 to 11-5 and their first playoff victory since 1982.

1992 saw the team win their first Super Bowl under Johnson, capping a 13-3 season with a dominating Super Bowl victory over the Buffalo Bills. With this victory, Johnson became the first person ever to win a Super Bowl and college championships as head coach.

The success continued into the following season when the team went 12-4 with another Super Bowl victory over the Bills. The successful run ended that offseason as Johnson and the Cowboys parted ways. Disagreements between Johnson and Jones led to a change in head coach.

Miami Dolphins

After sitting out two seasons as a TV analyst for Fox, Johnson returned to the sideline for the Miami Dolphins, again replacing a legendary hall of fame coach in Don Shula. However, in the four seasons leading the Dolphins, Johnson wasn’t able to replicate the success of the Cowboy years. Between 1996 and 1999, the Dolphins did not win the division, but won the wild card three times.

After the 1999 season, Johnson retired from the sideline for good and returned to Fox as an analyst. In 2020, Johnson was selected for the NFL Hall of Fame.


History

Year Position Record Playoff record
1999 Miami Dolphins Head Coach 9-7-0 1-1
1998 Miami Dolphins Head Coach 10-6-0 1-1
1997 Miami Dolphins Head Coach 9-7-0 0-1
1996 Miami Dolphins Head Coach 8-8-0 0-0
1993 Dallas Cowboys Head Coach 12-4-0 3-0
1992 Dallas Cowboys Head Coach 13-3-0 3-0
1991 Dallas Cowboys Head Coach 11-5-0 1-1
1990 Dallas Cowboys Head Coach 7-9-0 0-0
1989 Dallas Cowboys Head Coach 1-15-0 0-0

Coach history guide

Seasons with a championship win Seasons with a conference championship

Coach facts

  • Years as head coach: 9
  • Championships won: 1992 and 1993
  • Conference Championships won: 1992 and 1993
  • Coach of the Year: 1990
  • Led the league in wins: 1993
  • Third in total wins for the Miami Dolphins.
  • Third in total wins for the Dallas Cowboys.
  • Second in winning percentage for the Miami Dolphins.
  • Fifth in winning percentage for the Dallas Cowboys.
  • Past teams coached for: Miami Dolphins, Dallas Cowboys
  • College Attended: Arkansas Razorbacks
  • Jimmy Johnson was the first coach to win both a Super Bowl and college national championship.