Former Furman head football coach Bobby Johnson headlines a class of three former greats selected for induction into the Furman University Athletics Hall-of-Fame, director of athletic development Ken Pettus has announced.
Currently the head coach at Vanderbilt, Johnson, who spent 24 years as a member of Furman’s football staff in the capacities of assistant coach (1976-80, 82-92), defensive coordinator (1984-92), and head coach (1994-01), will be enshrined along with one of his former players, All-America return specialist/wide receiver Des Kitchings, and All-America soccer performer Emily Turgeon.
Induction ceremonies are scheduled for Saturday, July 25, at 6:00 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Greenville. Tickets are $22 and can be purchased by calling Sue Carnes at the Paladin Club at (864) 294-3565. Paladin Club members will receive one free ticket per family.
A Columbia, S.C., native, Johnson came to Furman in 1976 and played a key role in helping the Paladins capture 10 of the school’s 12 Southern Conference championships and 1988 NCAA I-AA (FCS) national crown, made possible by the nation’s top scoring defense (9.7 ppg) he directed. In seven seasons as head coach he guided the Paladins to a 60-36 slate, including a 12-3 mark in 2001 that included a national runner-up finish and AFCA national coach of the year honor.
Kitchings from Wagner, S.C., caught 112 passes for 1,808 yards and 11 touchdowns in a stellar career that netted him garner All-SoCon honors as a wide receiver and All-America accolades as a return specialist. In 1999 he averaged a school record 36.8 yards on 13 kickoff returns, three of which went for touchdowns, and caught two touchdown passes in the Paladins’ 28-3 victory over North Carolina before being selected in the seventh round of the NFL Draft by the Kansas City Chiefs.
Turgeon tallied a school record 57 goals and 148 points in a brilliant Furman career that saw her twice garner SoCon Player of the Year honors while pacing the Paladins to four consecutive SoCon regular season championships. The NCAA’s leading scorer in 2000 (63 points), the Raleigh, N.C., native delivered 20-match winning goals and helped Furman to a 64-21-4 overall record and 37-2-1 SoCon mark during her tenure.