Lee-Scott Academy football coach Robert Johnson joined the Warriors in 2019 and led the team back to the playoffs. Four months after the Warriors’ last game, Johnson is moving on.
Johnson has been hired as the athletic director and head football coach at Montgomery Academy, his alma mater. Johnson replaces Gary Nelson, who left in February to become the head coach at Southside-Gadsden.
“Going home is always special. It's a rare opportunity and was just one I had to take,” Johnson said. “I talked to a whole bunch of former teammates and some guys who now have their children there. After talking to them and my wife and praying about it, I felt like that was the place to be.”
Johnson took over a Lee-Scott team that went winless in 2018 and wasted little time in getting the Warriors back on track. After snapping their 13-game losing streak with a 42-24 victory over Fort Dale Academy in Week 2, the Warriors put together a five-win regular season to take Region 1-AAA’s fourth and final playoff seed.
Lee-Scott’s season ended in the first round of the AISA Class AAA playoffs with a 45-27 loss to Monroe Academy.
"There are so many special wins when I really look back on it. Beating Fort Dale to kind of break the streak, the kids were really emotional about that. That was a lot of fun," Johnson said. "We had some huge games like coming back against Morgan (Academy) and coming back and winning in the last 20 seconds against Springwood. ... We had a bunch of quality wins. Being able to be a part of turning something around and the dynamic was a lot of fun.
“Leaving (the kids) is really the hardest part by far. I feel like they put a lot of work in and a lot of effort in. I think they're going to be much, much improved next year.”
Johnson came to Lee-Scott from Tuscaloosa Academy, where he became head coach in 2011 after one year as the head coach at Pike County. After a 9-2 debut in 2011, the Knights went 13-0 in 2012 and captured their first state championship with a 27-26 victory over Lee-Scott in the Class AAA title game.
Johnson left Tuscaloosa Academy with a 61-25 record along with one state championship, three region titles and eight playoff appearances.
Prior to his stops at Tuscaloosa Academy and Pike County, Johnson spent three seasons as the head coach at Carroll from 2007 to 2009. His time with the Eagles followed a 10-year run as the head coach at St. James, where he posted a 72-41 record from 1997 to 2006 and won three region titles during that time.
In his 24 seasons as a head coach, Johnson has a 152-98 record with one state championship, six region titles and 18 playoff appearances.
A 1988 graduate of Montgomery Academy, Johnson began his coaching career at his high school alma mater after graduating from Auburn University in 1991. He spent four years at Montgomery Academy before moving to St. James as defensive coordinator for two seasons, after which he was promoted to head coach.
Although Johnson’s time at Lee-Scott was brief, he spoke highly of his experience and being part of the community. He commended the kids and parents at the school as well as the facilities he was afforded with the football program.
As for whoever replaces him at Lee-Scott, Johnson said that person will be walking into an ideal situation.
“I think Lee-Scott is definitely on the up-swing. I feel like next year will be a big improvement,” Johnson said. “We've got some younger grades that are really strong — all the grades are good, but in particular the current freshman class is really strong. We had an outstanding junior high football season, and they won the basketball state championship. There are some really quality athletes there. I think Lee-Scott is on the rise.”