EL DORADO — Davy Johnson began his football coaching career at the same high school from which he graduated in 2003 — Union Mine High.
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On July 28, Union Mine Principal Tony DeVille appointed Johnson, who was a three-year starting quarterback on the 2000 to 2002 Diamondback teams, as Union Mine’s interim varsity football coach. Johnson takes over for his father, Dave Johnson, who was relieved of his coaching duties last month. Dave Johnson was the school’s inaugural football coach when Union Mine opened its doors at the start of the 1999-2000 school year, and was the school’s athletic director and taught physical education.
In 2003, Davy Johnson served as offensive coordinator on Union Mine’s freshman football team. But he returned to the game as a player, attending Sierra College in Rocklin and played on the 2004 and ’05 Wolverine football teams. Then Johnson transferred to Sacramento State, and played for one season in the Hornets’ program.
During the 2007 and 2008 seasons, Johnson returned to coaching at Sierra College, where he coached quarterbacks and running backs. An opportunity to return to the gridiron called Johnson again, this time playing in Europe in 2009.
Johnson returned to the United States in 2010 to earn his bachelor’s degree in physical education at Sacramento State. He also worked as a student-coach with the Hornets’ football program.
In 2011, Johnson grabbed his first high school head coaching gig at Encina High of Sacramento.
“I was living down there (Sacramento) at the time,” said Johnson, 29. “I wanted to be a head coach. I really liked it; I enjoyed the school and the kids. It was a great experience.”
Johnson returned to Sacramento State in 2012 to start work on his teaching credentials, and was the Hornets’ defensive coordinator.
“I wanted to get back into the college game,” Johnson said.
Last season, Johnson returned to Union Mine as the D’backs’ offensive coordinator. He also worked as a substitute teacher for the El Dorado Union High School District. Johnson will also be doing his student-teaching at Union Mine.
“That’s something, I think, is huge to be on-campus,” Johnson said. “Even if I don’t have a class (during a period), I’ll be around. I know most of the teachers on-campus.”
Johnson has watched the growth of the players in the last six months in the weight room.
“This was probably one of the best off-seasons at Union Mine in terms of guys willing to put time in the weight room,” Johnson said. “This year, those guys will be a lot better.”
This year’s roster is expected to be close to 30 players. That will include 13 seniors and four juniors who started as sophomores last season. Two of the returning players who started as sophomores are quarterback Brody Pearman and running back Austin Rigsby.
“He’s improved a ton,” said Johnson of Pearman. “Austin will keep getting better and better. He’s a good kid, quiet worker. He’s getting a little bit faster. Both of those guys have a year (of varsity football) under their belt, you can see that they are relaxed, and not playing scared.”
Johnson plans to call the offense and defense for the D’backs this season. Union Mine will continue to run its base pro-set offense, and on defense their 3-4 alignment.
“Things are going to be consistent,” Johnson said. “It’s one of the reasons why I wanted to do this. The offensive and defensive systems will be 99 percent the same, tweak things here and there to accommodate (against opponents each week).”
Union Mine will kick off its season at Foothill of Sacramento on Friday, Aug. 29. The D’backs will play four more non-conference games at Bear River, then back-to-back home games against Mira Loma and Calaveras before concluding action at Lincoln. Then Union Mine will open Sierra Valley Conference play at Rosemont of Sacramento on Oct. 10, and will play three home conference games.
Contact Mike Bush at 530-344-5079 or [email protected] Follow @MBushMtDemo on Twitter.