Bobby Johnson

July 14, 2010 by staff 

Bobby JohnsonBobby Johnson:(The Huffington Post) — NASHVILLE, Tennessee – Vanderbilt coach Bobby Johnson retired abruptly on Wednesday as head coach of the Commodores’ for what he called personal reasons.

Vice Chancellor David Williams announced the news in a post on the website of college athletics on Wednesday just before a news conference. Minutes later, the 59-year-old Johnson approached the podium and said he was withdrawing from college football.

Johnson called it a very difficult decision, but not motivated by health concerns, either for himself or his wife.

“Football is not life, but is a way of life that consumes his life,” said Johnson. “You only have so many years of living, and want to see otherwise.”

Johnson’s withdrawal comes a week before he was scheduled to appear on the media’s pre-season Southeastern Conference days, almost three weeks before the players report for fall practice, and only seven weeks before the first game Commodores “04 September against the Northwest.

Caldwell announced that Robbie Williams will be the interim coach after serving as assistant head coach.

“I am saddened by the fact that Bobby has taken this decision,” said Williams. “In the same way as I said to the staff, it is our obligation to respect their decision. I tried to talk Bobby out of it. I tried talking to her yesterday. I tried to change his mind last night, and I tried to dissuade this morning. ”

Vanderbilt has directed the past eight seasons and was 10.2 in 2009. It was 29-66 at Vanderbilt and coached the Commodores to their only losing season since 1982 not in 2008 with a victory in the Music City Bowl that gave them a 7-6 record.

“This is a shock to us,” said Caldwell.

Johnson had just become the third coach in the history of Vanderbilt for the position for at least eight years, joining Dan Guepar McGugin and art. Johnson was 29-66 at Vanderbilt and coached the Commodores to avoid losing his only season since 1982 in 2008 to win the Music City Bowl.

Johnson also finished runners losing eight other teams in the SEC during his tenure, including a string of 22 games at Tennessee in 2005.

But he lost the best recruiting class of entry in February when broker Rajaan Georgia Bennett, the highest-rated player ever recorded at Vanderbilt, was shot to death at home.

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