Born: July 16, 1943 in Port Arthur, Texas
Former Dallas Cowboys Head Coach Jimmy Johnson first earned football accolades at Thomas Jefferson High School (now Memorial High School) in Port Arthur, Texas as a two-way lineman.
Attending the University of Arkansas, Johnson became an All-Southwest Conference defensive lineman and helped lead the team to the 1964 national championship. Undefeated, the team was voted national champions by the Football Writers Association of America. He was a three-year letterman and named to Arkansas' All-Decade Team of the 1960's.
Johnson began coaching at Louisiana Tech in 1965 where he helped recruit Terry Bradshaw from Shreveport, Louisiana. He spent two years at Iowa State under Johnny Majors and was part of Chuck Fairbanks' Oklahoma staff from 1970 to 1972. He returned to Arkansas in 1973 as his alma mater's defensive coordinator. In 1977, Johnson went to Pittsburgh as assistant head coach and defensive coordinator. In his two years there he ran one of college football's all-time great defenses.
Johnson’s first head coaching job was at Oklahoma State in 1979, where he coached the team into national prominence. He compiled a 29-25 record and had two bowl appearances.
In 1984 Johnson was hired as the head coach of the Miami Hurricanes. Having won a national championship, the year before many in Miami were perplexed by the choice. After a shaky start however, Johnson developed the Hurricanes into one of the best teams in the country. In his five years in Miami the team went 52-9, played in 5 New Year’s Day bowl games and two national championships, winning one in 1987.
On February 25, 1989, Johnson was named by Jerry Jones as the replacement for legendary Dallas Cowboy’s head coach Tom Landry. Jones and Johnson had been teammates at Arkansas. Johnson’s first season was a dismal 1-15, but he made one of the most lopsided trades of all time when he sent Herschel Walker to the Minnesota Vikings and parlayed the resulting draft picks into six high quality players. With Troy Aikman, Emmett Smith, Michael Irvin and an amazing stable of other talented players put together and coached up by Johnson, the Cowboys won Super Bowl XXVII in 1992 and Super Bowl XXVIII in 1993 (defeating the Buffalo Bills in both Super Bowls).
After Johnson was unable to continue to work with Jerry Jones, he left the Cowboys, and eventually spent 3 years coaching for the Miami Dolphins before his retirement from the NFL. The talent he put together was so dominant, the Cowboys were able to win another Super Bowl 2 years later. He is currently an analyst for Fox NFL Sunday, on its NFL pregame show, sitting alongside Terry Bradshaw, one of the first players he ever successfully recruited as an assistant coach.
In 1993 Jimmy Johnson was inducted into the Museum of the Gulf Coast, Sports Hall of Fame. Johnson was also inducted into the University of Miami Sports Hall of Fame in 1996. In May 2012, he was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.
In 2020 Jimmy Johnson was inducted into the National Football League Hall of Fame. Johnson is the only player/coach to have won a national championship as a player in college, coached a national championship NCAA team, and coached a team to a Super Bowl win.