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Published 12/04/2012
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Hall of Fame Hurricanes: Jimmy Johnson

"Hall of Fame Canes" will highlight Hurricanes enshrined in the #HOF in preparation for Jimmy Johnson's College Football Hall of Fame induction, along with the rest of the Class of 2012, on Tuesday, Dec. 4. Meet today's Hall of Fame Hurricane...

Jimmy Johnson
College Football HOF, 2012

by: Camron Ghorbi

If Al Golden was hoping to convey his excitement to the 2012 Hurricanes just prior to the opening of the season, he certainly picked the right man to deliver the message.

"Let me tell you something, guys," the speaker said, pacing around the meeting room. "This is going to be the greatest time of your lives! I used to sit in this same room years ago, and say 'We're playing this big game! This is why you came to Miami! That's why you wanted to be a Hurricane!'"

The passion so deeply fermented in that charming voice, the same Southern twang that induces smiles from millions of football fans every Sunday afternoon in the fall, sounded just as real in an August team meeting as it did back in 1984.

Indeed, if any of the hundreds of players and coaches that have suited up in Orange and Green can attest to the Hurricane tradition, it's 69-year-old James William "Jimmy" Johnson from Port Arthur, Texas.

Fans and media members alike were skeptical of the initial hire, when Johnson was brought on to replace a coaching legend in Howard Schnellenberger after the 1983 season. But six years later, teary-eyed fans sat back and watched as one of the all-time coaching greats moved from the collegiate to the professional ranks.

After leading the Hurricanes all the way to the national championship game as head coach in 1986, Johnson guided Miami to its first undefeated season in the modern era and its second national championship trophy in 1987. He would finish his time at Miami with an outrageous 52-9 mark (.852 winning percentage), including 44-4 (.916) in his final four seasons.

His success wouldn't end there.

Six years after capturing a trophy as head coach of the Hurricanes, Johnson guided the Dallas Cowboys to back-to-back Super Bowl trophies. With the championships came the sealing of a legend - Johnson had accomplished the unthinkable: national championships as both a collegiate player and coach, and two Super Bowl trophies as leader of the most iconic franchise in professional sports.

Twenty-five years later, back in the same meeting rooms where he would gather his Hurricanes teams as a wide-eyed, upstart head coach, Johnson can't help but reminisce.

"Enjoy this thing. I'm an old man, but you don't know what I would give to be sitting in your seat. This is the greatest time of your life. Enjoy the journey."