McGuire tabs Justin Johnson to Texas Tech staff
LUBBOCK, Texas – Texas Tech head coach Joey McGuire announced Wednesday the hiring of Justin Johnson as the Red Raiders’ new assistant head coach, offensive passing game coordinator and wide receivers coach.
Johnson, nicknamed “Coach Juice” throughout his career, arrives in Lubbock after a three-year stint at Baylor where he worked alongside McGuire during the 2020-21 seasons. A known name throughout the state of Texas, Johnson has also worked at both Houston, his alma mater, and Kansas in full-time roles.
“We’re excited to welcome Coach Johnson and his family to Texas Tech,” McGuire said. “I’ve seen firsthand his ability to connect and inspire student-athletes to perform at their best, so he’ll be a tremendous addition to our staff. Our players will really enjoy the energy that he will bring each and every day to help push this program forward as we strive for a Big 12 Championship.”
Johnson, an All-Conference USA wide receiver at Houston, served as the running backs coach at both Baylor (2020-22) and Houston (2019) the past four seasons but will move back to the wide receiver room with the Red Raiders. He was previously the wide receivers coach at Kansas for the 2018 season.
Over his three seasons in Waco, Johnson’s running back room proved to be one of the best in the nation as the Bears averaged 219.3 yards per game on the ground in 2021, which led the Big 12 Conference and ranked 10th in the FBS. Baylor ultimately won the Big 12 title that season and appeared in the Allstate Sugar Bowl, one of two bowl appearances for the Bears during Johnson’s tenure.
Abram Smith powered the Baylor running game that season as the converted linebacker led the Big 12 and finished fifth nationally with 1,601 rushing yards. Smith also ranked second in the conference and seventh in the FBS after averaging 114.4 rushing yards per game, which was boosted by his 6.23 yards a carry. Smith, an All-Big 12 second team honoree in 2021, closed the season ranked second in the Big 12 and 14th in the FBS for yards per carry en route to signing as an undrafted free agent with the New Orleans Saints.
Smith paired with fellow Baylor standout Trestan Ebner each of the first two seasons of Johnson’s tenure as a strong 1-2 punch at running back. Ebner, one of the best all-purpose backs in the country throughout his Baylor tenure, garnered second team All-America honors as a return specialist after totaling 1,047 all-purpose yards and a team-leading six touchdowns (one rushing, three-receiving, two kick returns) during the 2020 COVID-shortened season.
Ebner was named the Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Year following both the 2020 and 2021 seasons as well as a first team All-Big 12 honoree as an all-purpose player by the Associate Press. He became the first player in Baylor history to total more than 1,000 career rushing and receiving yards after notching 1,775 all-purpose yards his super senior season alone. Ebner closed his career ranked second all-time in Baylor history with 4,542 all-purpose yards before being selected in the sixth round of the 2022 NFL Draft by the Chicago Bears.
Johnson moved north to Waco after one season coaching running backs at his alma mater where he helped Houston achieve its 18th-consecutive season with at least 1,500 rushing yards in 2019. The Cougars’ rushing attack ranked 37th in the FBS that season, averaging 188.2 yards per contest.
Prior to his time at Houston, Johnson spent three seasons at Kansas, serving as the wide receivers coach in 2018 after two years as an offensive analyst. He was previously a quality control assistant for Houston to start his career in 2012 and then a graduate assistant at Texas A&M in 2013 where he helped the Aggies to a 9-4 record and a win over Duke in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl.
Before beginning his coaching career, Johnson was a four-year letterwinner for Houston where he still remains one of the top pass catchers in program history. A first team All-CUSA selection as a senior in 2011, Johnson had an explosive final season as a Cougar, catching 87 passes for 1,229 and 12 touchdowns as he still ranks in the top 10 all-time in Houston history for single-season receiving yards and touchdowns.
Johnson capped his Houston career with a bowl record 12 catches for 148 yards in the Cougars’ 30-14 victory over No. 23 Penn State in the 2012 Ticket City Bowl. Johnson was considered one of Houston’s most versatile athletes during his playing career, competing on special teams and as a running back, wide receiver and tight end at various times for a Cougars program that played in three bowl games and two Conference USA Championship games.
Off the field, Johnson was a member of Houston’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) and was selected to participate in and graduated from its Athletics Leadership Academy. He was awarded the Houston Committed Cougar Award twice.
Johnson earned his bachelor’s degree in kinesiology and sports administration from the University of Houston in 2011. He and his wife, Aisha, have two children, Jayden and Kingsley.
JUSTIN JOHNSON COACHING HISTORY
2020-22 – Baylor Assistant Coach (Running Backs)
2019 – Houston Assistant Coach (Running Backs)
2018 – Kansas Assistant Coach (Wide Receivers)
2016-17 – Kansas Offensive Analyst
2013 – Texas A&M Graduate Assistant (Offense)
2012 – Houston Offensive Quality Control Assistant
Release provided by Matt Dowdy Texas Tech Athletics