The executive committee of the University of South Carolina’s Board of Trustees today approved a contract raise and extension for Ellis Johnson, the Gamecocks’ assistant head coach – defense. The board also approved the contract for new offensive line coach/running game coordinator Shawn Elliott.
Johnson, who has been with the Gamecocks for two years, had his contract extended for two seasons, taking him through the 2013 campaign. Johnson originally signed a three-year contract in January 2008 and had one year added to his contract in October 2008. The 58-year-old Johnson’s new four-year contract is worth $700,000 annually.
In his time in Columbia, Johnson has helped mold a Carolina defense into one of the best in the country. At the end of the 2008 season, the Gamecocks ranked 13th nationally in total defense and second in the country in pass defense. He was one of five finalists for the 2008 Defensive Coordinator of the Year award as selected by FootballScoop.com. In 2009, the Gamecocks finished the season ranked third in the SEC (behind only national champion Alabama and Florida) and 15th in the nation in total defense and eighth in the country in pass defense. He tutored senior linebacker Eric Norwood to first-team All- America honors by several national outlets.
“Ellis had an opportunity at another SEC institution and we made a counter offer to retain him,” said Athletics Director Eric Hyman. “His success speaks for itself. We want to maintain continuity with our coaches and build off the positive momentum that has been established with our defense since his arrival.”
“I’m pleased that Coach Spurrier, Eric Hyman, Dr. Pastides and the University have extended that vote of confidence,” said Johnson. “The most exciting part for me is the length of the contract because I want to be here at South Carolina and we have some great times ahead of us.”
Elliott, 36, was named the offensive line coach/running game coordinator on January 3, 2010, replacing Eric Wolford, who took the head coaching position at Youngstown State University. Elliott received a two-year contract valued at $150,000 for the first year and $165,000 for the second year.
Elliott, a native of Camden, S.C., has coached his entire career at Appalachian State University, helping the Mountaineers to three-straight national championships (2005-07). Over the past nine seasons, Elliott has helped his offensive linemen earn 12 All-America certificates.
Our buddy Joe Person had some other interesting tidbits from the board meeting. Apparently some members aren’t too happy about the debt the athletic department is taking on as it works to expand and improve its facilities. There were some fireworks but everything did get passed.