Ohio State DL Coach Larry Johnson Says Retirement Is "Way Away From Here"
"The day that I stop enjoying coaching and having a passion for what I do, then I’ll do that."
For the last five or so years, Ohio State defensive line coach Larry Johnson has heard rumors of his impending retirement. Yet, as the now 70-year-old heads into his 49th season of coaching at either the high school or college level, he has no plans of stopping anytime soon.
“People ask that question all the time,” Johnson said during his media availability on Tuesday morning. “My retirement plan is way away from here. I enjoy coaching, and the day that I stop enjoying coaching and having a passion for what I do, then I’ll do that.
“I don’t get up in the morning and say, ‘Well, this is it.’ I don’t do that. That’s not the way I function. I get up every morning dying to get into this building and coach those guys. Now, when I can’t do that anymore, it’ll tell me. But right now, I’m not telling myself anything (other than) I’ve got to get going and it’s time to go play a game.”
The question, which typically comes up in recruiting circles, was prompted by head coach Ryan Day ’s decision to overhaul the defensive coaching staff this offseason and bring on new defensive coordinator Jim Knowles , secondary/cornerbacks coach Tim Walton and safeties coach Perry Eliano .
Johnson likened it to 2019 – Day’s first season at the helm – when he wiped the defensive slate clean (with the exception of Johnson) by hiring co-coordinators Jeff Hafley and Greg Mattison , linebackers coach Al Washington and assistant secondary coach Matt Barnes .
“It’s different terminology, it’s a new language, but football is football and teaching is teaching when it comes down to it,” said Johnson, who has been with the Buckeyes since 2014. “The fact is, I’m a coach, and that’s the most important thing. I was hired to coach football.
“When the day comes that I can’t coach, I won’t coach. But right now, I’m hired to be a coach, so (the turnover) hasn’t bothered me. I know I have a job to do as a coach to make my unit the best unit, and that’s what motivates me every day, trying to find a way to make those guys better.”
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