Ellis Johnson joins Croom's staff

Updated: December 15, 2003, 7:35 PM ET
Associated Press

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Citadel coach Ellis Johnson is leaving Division I-AA to become defensive coordinator at Mississippi State for new Bulldogs coach Sylvester Croom.

Johnson has been with The Citadel the last three seasons, going 12-22. The Citadel was 6-6 last year, its best season in six years.

"I am excited and energized over the move to Mississippi State," Johnson said Monday.

Johnson was defensive coordinator and linebackers coach at Alabama for four years before taking over at The Citadel.

He also worked at Alabama under coach Gene Stallings from 1990-93. Between stints with the Crimson Tide, he was an assistant with Clemson.

This will be the second stop of Johnson's 25-year coaching career in Mississippi. Johnson was defensive coordinator at Southern Mississippi under coach Curley Hallman from 1988-89.

Johnson takes over a unit that was among the worst in the nation. Mississippi State ranked last in the country in scoring defense at 39.3 points per game.

Croom was hired on Dec. 1.

Johnson is Croom's sixth hire. Last week, Croom hired Tennessee running backs coach Woody McCorvey to be his offensive coordinator.

Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press