Ellis Johnson, who presided over one of the most successful defensive runs in South Carolina football history, is rejoining the Gamecocks coaching staff as an assistant to new head coach Will Muschamp.
Johnson’s role has not been identified. He could be Muschamp’s linebackers coach or he could fill another defensive position. Johnson’s imminent hiring was confirmed to The State through a source on the condition of anonymity.
Johnson, 63, is a Winnsboro native who has coached everywhere from Spartanburg High School to The Citadel (his alma mater) to Alabama and Clemson and Auburn. He served as Steve Spurrier’s defensive coordinator at South Carolina from 2008-2011.
The Gamecocks finished third in the SEC in scoring defense and total defense in 2011. He left South Carolina in 2012 to become the head coach at Southern Miss, where he was fired after one season.
Johnson was Auburn’s defensive coordinator in 2013 and 2014 and was replaced by Muschamp in that role in 2015. Johnson and his family moved back to Columbia when he left Auburn.