A unanimous pick to replace Archie Manning on this season’s College Football Playoff selection committee, Bobby Johnson is a familiar face in the SEC ranks after leading Vanderbilt to its first bowl appearance in 53 years during the 2008 season.

“I have tremendous respect for the selection committee and I am honored to join the group,” Johnson said last week. “As a former player and coach, I’m particularly happy about the opportunity to continue to serve the game.”

After re-energizing a perennial bottom-dweller in the Eastern Division, Johnson set the stage for James Franklin a few years later who directed the Commodores to consecutive nine-win campaigns. With several of Johnson’s players, Vanderbilt had gained respect in the SEC.

Johnson, the SEC’s 2008 Coach of the Year, lettered as a defensive back and wide receiver at Clemson in the early 1970s. His coaching experience spans 34 years, including 24 seasons as an assistant or head coach at Furman (South Carolina). Johnson went 60-36 with the Paladins.

The Columbia, S.C. native took over at Vanderbilt in 2002 and after a couple rough seasons, led the Commodores to their first winning since 1982. He retired in 2010.


  • Defensive assistant, Furman: 1976-1979; 1981-1992
  • Defensive assistant, Clemson: 1993
  • Head coach, Furman: 1994-2001
  • Head coach, Vanderbilt: 2002-2010

ESPN.com’s Chris Low calls Johnson’s spot on the CFP committee “an absolute home run” as a former coach who is “the epitome of integrity” and will fit in with the current members.

In a recent interview, Johnson said he’s looking forward to watching games and keeping track of teams on both coasts for the committee.

“When I was coaching, I hardly ever stayed up long enough to see a USC game or an Oregon game,” Johnson said. “To me, it’s intriguing with all the different possibilities and different styles of play now. That’s what makes it so fun. It’s sort of like people in the office hanging around the water cooler and arguing about who’s the best.”

Johnson is one of two new committee members since the end of last season, joining Texas Tech athletic director Kirby Hocutt who replaced Oliver Luck.