When Adam Johnson came to Beulah High School for a football game last fall, he immediately noticed it had the charm of a special place. Almost nine months later, that place is his new home.
Johnson has been hired as Beulah’s new athletic director and assistant principal. Johnson replaces Richard Brown Jr., who replaced his father as Beauregard High School principal.
Johnson comes to Beulah from Smiths Station, where he spent the last 15 years. Johnson also served as the Panthers’ athletic director during the 2018-2019 school year.
“Beulah's always been a place I've enjoyed. I live nine-and-a-half miles from there,” Johnson said. “Last year, I went out there to support coach (Cody) Flournoy in the first round of the playoffs. When I walked on campus, I got a feeling that I had only gotten one other time — that was in 2004 when I walked on campus at Smiths Station.
“It's definitely a God thing. I didn't know how and I didn't know when, but at some point I was going to be there or a place similar to that.”
Although Johnson is excited about the new opportunity, he admitted it was bittersweet leaving Smiths Station.
When Johnson first arrived at Smiths Station in 2004, he promised his wife Kristie and children Tyler, Megan and Kaitlyn that he would stay there to give his kids their high school diplomas. He built relationships among the people in the community, but when Kaitlyn graduated this spring he started looking at administrative opportunities.
Johnson, who was born around Crawford and graduated from Central-Phenix City, wanted to stay in the area if he were to leave Smiths Station. Beulah gave him the chance to do just that.
“It's tough. I was in a great situation (at Smiths Station),” Johnson said. “A couple of things didn't work out, and then this (job) came open. I was like, 'OK, Lord. What do you want me to do?' I met with the principal (Cincrystal Poythress) out here. She's a great lady. I met with several community leaders out here. It's a great community.”
Johnson joins Beulah after one of the best football seasons in school history. The Bobcats won eight games in 2018 and reached the playoffs for the first time since 2007.
Following the season, Flournoy — a Smiths Station alum — left to become the athletic director and head coach at Jackson High.
Johnson complimented the work of Brown and said he doesn’t anticipate making major changes as the new athletic director. Instead, his goal is to help Beulah continue with its recent progression so achievements like making the state playoffs in football become the norm instead of the exception.
“We're going to build off what's already there. We'll take the great moments and move forward,” Johnson said. “The facilities aren't bad. It doesn't matter where you are — you always want to improve facilities. When you come in this late in the summer or early in the school year, I've got to get in and meet all the coaches. I've heard we've got a great coaching staff. I've met a couple so far.
“I've talked to coach Flournoy, and he talked real highly about everybody there. From there, it's just go forward.”