Skip to main content

Sources: Pac-12 program raids Butch Jones' A-State staff

Arkansas State new head coach Butch Jones, back atop a program for the first time since 2017, largely has assembled a strong inaugural staff for his crack running the resource-rich Red Wolves as they seek to regain prominent footing in the SunBelt Conference.

But Jones' first group of coaches suffered an additional subtraction on Wednesday, when recently named Arkansas State strength coach Brian Johnson, a veteran in the industry, left the Red Wolves' program for a position on Justin Wilcox's staff at California, multiple sources told FootballScoop.

Johnson had been a strong hire for Jones, who formally announced Johnson's appointment as Assistant Athletics Director for Athletic Performance on Dec. 30, 2020.

Johnson had worked in the NFL, the SEC and spent three years at Arizona under Kevin Sumlin before that regime was fired on the heels of a late-season, blowout-loss to rival Arizona State.

Now Johnson, who spent time with both LSU and Texas A&M, as well as the San Francisco 49ers, is returning to the West Coast and a Power-5 conference.

And now Jones must again quickly piece together his strength and conditioning group before the onset of offseason workouts in the coming weeks.

Jones earlier tabbed Keith Heckendorf to take over as Arkansas State's play-caller, which was just re-hiring Heckendorf after he had served in the same role for previous A-State coach Blake Anderson, after being unable to lock in the services of Jones' former Alabama colleagues Major Applewhite and A.J. Milwee.

As always stay tuned to The Scoop for the latest coaching news.