That is, until Kennesaw State University launched its football program.
Bohannon was officially introduced as the Owls’ first football coach Wednesday during a news conference at Fifth Third Bank Stadium, where his players will kick off for the first time in 2015.
“It’s almost surreal for me to say that I’m the first ever football coach at Kennesaw State,” said the 42-year-old Bohannon, a Griffin native and second-generation coach who played for his father, Lloyd, at Griffin High School. “I’m truly excited. You don’t get to this point without good people around along the way in life. I truly believe that I’m here ... because God has a plan. He put me here today. I want to tell you why I’m here, what I’m about, and I want you to get to know me.”
For one thing, Bohannon is loyal. For the first time since 1996, he will not be on Johnson’s staff.
The Georgia Tech coach brought Bohannon on as his wide receivers coach at Georgia Southern, where he also coached defensive backs. In that time, the Eagles went 62-10 over five seasons, winning two national championships in the Football Championship Subdivision.
When Johnson was hired by Navy to be its head coach before the 2002 season, Bohannon went with him to Annapolis, Md., and spent the next six years there as the Midshipmen wide receivers coach. Then, when Johnson came back south to lead Georgia Tech in ’08, Bohannon came along and has spent the last five seasons coaching the Yellow Jackets’ quarterbacks and B-backs.
“I don’t interview for a job unless I really want it,” Bohannon said. “I’m a pretty loyal guy. I want to be somewhere. I want to be a part of something. I’m not going to take a job to look for the next job. I’m here at Kennesaw State because I want to be here for the long haul.”
Other known finalists for the Kennesaw State position were Andy McCollum, Georgia Tech’s linebackers coach and recruiting coordinator, and Murray State coach Chris Hatcher, a former head coach at Georgia Southern and Valdosta State.
Not having been a head coach or a coordinator before, Bohannon has the task at hand of building a football program from scratch. But his strength is recruiting, having recruited Cobb County during his time Georgia Tech.
When asked if Johnson has given him advice on how to approach his new digs, Bohannon said Johnson told him to “be who you are and don’t try to be something that you’re not.”
Other traits Bohannon said he picked up from his mentor were organization and understanding the goings on during a game. He also said Johnson is “passionate” while he’s on the sidelines and works with a “chip on his shoulder.”
Athletic director Vaughn Williams can detect the same kind of passion in Bohannon, which sold him on the idea that he would be the right coach to launch KSU’s football program.
“I knew we had a tremendous individual in someone who can be our coach,” Williams said. “At the end of the day, you’ve got to go with your gut and you’ve got to go with what fits and he’s the perfect fit.”
Bohannon plans to bring the option offense that Johnson’s teams have long employed to Kennesaw State, though Bohannon says he will make adjustments based on personnel. He said he would love to have a dual-threat quarterback leading the huddle.
Defensively, Bohannon said he would give his defensive coordinator some leeway and construct a defense based on the players who are recruited.
During Bohannon’s first week as head coach, he’ll be shaking hands with the Kennesaw State community as the “new face” of the football program. Assembling a staff is also in the works along with recruiting plans.
Scheduling and deciding what conference Kennesaw State will join are also on the long list of objectives. Bohannon said the Southern and Big South conferences are two potential candidates.
After playing for his father in high school, Bohannon went on to spend four seasons as a wide receiver at Georgia from 1990-93. After coaching stops at West Georgia and Gardner-Webb, he began working for Johnson — starting a long partnership that brought him into the crosshairs of Kennesaw State’s coaching search.
“We were looking for someone who knows 21st-century student-athletes, and we found somebody who knows a lot about the 21st-century student-athletes,” KSU president Dan Papp said “Believe me, they are a lot different than folks like me who were mid-20th-century student-athletes.”