Johnson + Fasano = Vanier Cup?

By Kris Kotarski

With a former coach’s name on the door, and the same coach’s stuff still filling the office, the newest face on the Dinos football coaching staff tries to get his life in order. But as he wades through the mess, an overwhelming feeling of enthusiasm engulfs him. After 14 years of coaching and travelling, Dave Johnson is finally settling down at the University of Calgary.

"I am very thankful for the opportunity to work in Calgary," the new assistant Head Coach said. "This is a first class school, both academically and athletically."

Johnson’s resume reads like a travel brochure, with stops in British Columbia, Scotland and Arizona. However, one thing stands out through all his coaching stints–success. Johnson started his career coaching high school and junior football in B.C. In 1991, he packed his bags and headed to Scotland to coach the Glasgow Lions Football Club. In 1992, he returned to Abbotsford and soon after led the Air Force team to the BCJFL final. His next stop was some 50km away at the University of British Columbia, where he took the role of
Defensive Coordinator for the Thunderbirds.

Following the T-Birds national championship in 1997, Johnson took over as Head Coach after Casey Smith’s death in 1998. He led the team to a 6-2 record and the Canada West Conference final before losing to the University of Saskatchewan.

And now, after a two-year hiatus from the Canadian Interuniversity Athletic Union, Johnson is back and he doesn’t plan to leave anytime soon.

"My wife and I are extremely happy with the move to Calgary. I don’t consider this to be a short-term move," said Johnson. "My goal is to make both Coach Fasano and the University of Calgary look good for a long time to come."

Dinos’ Head Coach Tony Fasano seems equally excited about the newest piece in the football puzzle.

"When you have a turnover in staff, you try to fill the hole with the best person possible. I think we’ve done that with Johnson," he said. "We have a guy that has experience in the CIAU and Canada West. He has great success at all levels of coaching and he has great recruiting knowledge. He brings a renewed enthusiasm for the upcoming season."

The team will openly welcome that enthusiasm and will look to Johnson to help the Dinos get over last year’s first-round playoff heartbreaker.

"My philosophy is to help each player reach his potential," the new assistant remarked. "I am not concerned with how well our defensive end did against the left guard from Saskatchewan. I am concerned with how well that defensive end did in comparison to what he could do."

With his commitment and enthusiasm, Dave Johnson will undoubtedly make sure that the 2001/2002 Dinos football team reaches its potential.

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