Paul Johnson is retiring following 17 seasons as a head coach for the Navy Midshipmen and Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets.
Georgia Tech announced the news Wednesday:
Georgia Tech director of athletics Todd Stansbury said in a statement:
"I was saddened when Coach Johnson informed me that he was going to step down as our head coach. Not only is he Georgia Tech's winningest head coach in more than 50 years, but he is also an incredible mentor for the young men in our football program and has helped develop countless student-athletes that have gone on to great success after graduation. I wish him and Susan nothing but the very best as he steps away from coaching football for the first time in 40 years and ask the entire Georgia Tech community to join me in thanking him for his hard work and contributions to the Institute over the past 11 years."
Adam Rittenberg of ESPN.com deemed Los Angeles Chargers offensive coordinator and former Georgia Tech player Ken Whisenhunt a "top candidate" to replace Johnson and said Clemson co-offensive coordinator Tony Elliott is also "in the mix."
Johnson's offense is known for its triple-option attack, which he rode to a 45-29 record and five bowl bids at Navy from 2002 through 2007.
He has been with the Yellow Jackets the last 11 seasons and sports an 83-59 record and eight bowl appearances, including two Orange Bowls. He has two seasons of double-digit wins with the ACC team—including in 2009 when he beat the Clemson Tigers in the ACC Championship Game—and failed to win seven or more games just three times.
He found success outside the FBS level as well, winning back-to-back Division I-AA national titles at Georgia Southern in 1999 and 2000.
According to Dan Wolken of USA Today, the 61-year-old Johnson "has been contemplating retirement for several weeks."
Johnson's Georgia Tech team leads the nation in rushing yards this season and finished with a 7-5 mark following Saturday's loss to the rival Georgia Bulldogs. The Yellow Jackets are awaiting their bowl assignment, which will be Johnson's ninth with the school should he coach it.