Eric Sondheimer has been covering high school sports for the Los Angeles Times since 1997 and in Southern California since 1976. Get his latest from the field and follow all our prep sports coverage and analysis here.
Chad Johnson, the offensive coordinator at St. John Bosco and chief assistant to Jason Negro during the Braves’ rise to prominence, has accepted the position of head coach at Mission Viejo.
Mission Viejo announced Wednesday that it has recommended Johnson to the Saddleback Valley Unified School District Board of Trustees.
It was a tough decision for Johnson, who’s not related to retiring Mission Viejo Coach Bob Johnson. St. John Bosco made an offer trying to keep him, and for good reason. He’s become known as a great quarterbacks coach, having helped develop Josh Rosen and current sophomore D.J. Uiagalelei. He has been Negro’s key assistant since the two worked together at Trabuco Hills.
For Mission Viejo to be able to lure him away offers a big opportunity for the Diablos to maintain the excellence they achieved under Bob Johnson. For one, Mission Viejo’s returning quarterback, Joey Yellen, trained under Chad Johnson until he transferred to Mission Viejo this past season.
Johnson has strong ties to South Orange County, having played at El Toro. And most importantly, he’s committed to a community-based football program.
“I want to go back to the community I grew up in and give back,” he said.
His departure from St. John Bosco opens up a coveted assistant coach position. Uiagalelei, one of the top young quarterbacks in the nation, will need someone to pick up where Johnson left off. Negro should have lots of resumes coming in.
“We’ll put a search together,” Negro said. “We feel we’re one of the top teams in the nation and we’re going to get some very capable candidates.”
Meanwhile, Johnson must come up with his own staff. One of the strengths of Mission Viejo’s program through the years was its assistant coaches that included sons of Bob Johnson, Rob and Bret.