Aiken's Johnson steps down as football coach, will remain A.D.


Aiken head football coach Carey Johnson has stepped down.


Johnson, who will remain the school’s athletic director, wasn’t pressured to resign. He went 135-88 during his 18 years in Aiken.

“It was totally his decision,” Aiken principal Garen Cofer said. “I begged and pleaded for him to reconsider, but his decision was to step aside.”

Cofer said Johnson mentioned he would resign back in February. Cofer thought maybe Johnson was just burned out or frustrated after a 2-9 season.

But in the end, Johnson didn't change his mind.

During his tenure, Johnson took Aiken to state championship games in 1999 and 2000, but the Hornets have struggled recently. In the past four seasons, Aiken has gone just 15-30.

However, Cofer said the on-field results didn't lead him to question Johnson's ability. Instead, Cofer said this was simply part of a cycle, and that the program will turn it around.

“There was no pressure or anything," Cofer said. "He’s too valuable to young men. He’s an icon in this building.”

Off the football field, Johnson has been athletic director and has seen many Hornets sports teams excel, like the volleyball and basketball teams. The volleyball team won the state title in 2010.

Cofer said Johnson will work with him in selecting Johnson’s replacement.