With the growth of USF’s athletic program, in particular the move of the football team to Division I-A, the Athletic Department created a new position this summer to help handle the increased demands placed on the staff.
Corey Johnson was named USF’s first deputy athletics director this August. He brings years of experience as both an athletics director and football coach to the new post. Johnson said his job is dedicated to handling the heavier workload.
“The position was really created to support the additional infrastructure that was needed over the last several years with the addition of football and addition of requirements and duties,” he said. “It was (made) to assist in the day-to-day operation.”
With the help of Johnson, Athletic Director Lee Roy Selmon is able to concentrate much of his work building community relationships and support. Johnson said his job is to make sure internal requests from coaches and support staff can be handled in a timely manner.
“With Mr. Selmon’s schedule and the focus on fundraising, development and expansion, we want to make sure the daily needs and requirements … can be met,” he said.
Johnson was tested quickly in his new position. The Athletic Department faced a tough task in handling the rescheduling of USF’s planned sporting events in the wake of the national tragedy Sept. 11 and the impending landfall of Tropical Storm Gabrielle the same week. Johnson said, during that time, the staff of the Athletic Department proved itself reliable.
“One of the most exciting parts is the fact that there is really quality people here,” he said. “They’ve all worked extra and they’ve all been extremely supportive.”
Johnson was educated at Augustana College in Sioux Falls, S.D. After graduation, he coached high school football and took positions in the Big 10 and PAC 10 athletic conferences. He has 12 years of experience as an athletics director, including a post he held at Nova Southeast in Ft. Lauderdale since 1995. Johnson said in his time at Nova Southeast, the athletic department grew from four full-time employees to 33, and the program moved from NAIA to NCAA Division II.
Selmon said he believes Johnson is uniquely qualified for the new position.
“(Johnson) brings a wide spectrum of experience in intercollegiate athletics to USF,” Selmon said. “He has been involved in major facility fundraising and construction, and for the past six years, he has been in the state of Florida, giving him a keen sense for the intercollegiate atmosphere in our great state.”In addition to his position at Nova Southeast, Johnson has been a member of the Orange Bowl for the past five years. In that capacity, he said he has traveled to other universities this fall to watch games, including a game between Oklahoma and Air Force. Johnson said the day was special because Selmon is from Oklahoma.
“It was great not only because of Lee Roy’s reputation (in Oklahoma), but it gave us an opportunity to talk about South Florida, not only as being a representative of the Orange Bowl, but also being proud of the opportunity I had in coming here,” Johnson said.