The Lee County Board of Education approved Matt Johnson as the new Beulah Bobcats football coach on Tuesday. Johnson takes over as head coach after spending the past two seasons as the team’s offensive coordinator.
Johnson had been on staff at Beulah for six years before being named offensive coordinator prior to the 2017 season. His latest promotion marks his first opportunity to be a head coach.
“I'm extremely thankful and grateful,” Johnson said. “My wife (Kelly) and I prayed over this for quite some time. We didn't pray to get the job – we just prayed for whatever the lord wants to happen for it to happen. We're glad it turned out this way. We're very grateful, thankful and extremely blessed.”
Johnson, who graduated from Springwood School and Auburn University, got his start in coaching charting plays at Opelika High School while his brother Brandon coached at Opelika’s junior high school and his friend Bryan Moore coached the Bulldogs’ tight ends.
Johnson credited Brandon, who is now an assistant at Auburn High, and Moore, now the head coach at Jasper High School, for helping him learn the game and the offense he’s implemented at Beulah the last two years.
Johnson replaces Cody Flournoy, who became the head coach and athletic director at Jackson High in April. Flournoy left Beulah after two seasons with an 11-10 record, including an 8-3 record in 2018 that was the program’s highest win total since 1995.
“They’re getting a guy who helped us set rushing records last year with a thousand-yard back (Chris Person),” Flournoy said of Johnson. “He’s real big on being well-organized and our character and our education. Me and him, we’ve studied this stuff. They’re getting a high-quality guy who’s organized and is going to run the same things offensively and defensively.
“With culture, it’s going to be similar to what we were doing already.”
Johnson explained he learned the importance of organization and building relationships with players during Flournoy’s stint as head coach. Johnson added that he doesn’t plan to change much in his new role, saying the team will keep the same offense and defense it has ran over the past three years.
Beulah athletic director Richard Brown explained Johnson’s familiarity with the team was one part of what made promoting him an appealing option.
“Matt's been with us a number of years. He's an exceptional teacher. Looking at last year's team and the offensive numbers that we put up, he was our offensive coordinator,” Brown said. “I also had the opportunity to observe him during the spring in spring practice in terms of how he handled the transition that we were in. We felt like he was the right man for the job.”
Johnson said his mission is for Beulah to play with a fast, physical and dominating effort. Flournoy set a new standard for the Beulah program, and Johnson intends to make the winning a new tradition.
As Johnson detailed his background, he smiled once he reached this point in his coaching career.
“Here we are, head coach of the Beulah Bobcats, which is really, really good to say,” Johnson said.