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John Johnson

Coach John Johnson, center, talks with Ted Schmitz, left, and Dusty Burk during a practice for the Bloomington indoor football team in this file photo from Wednesday, April 13, 2011. The Bloomington Edge have hired Johnson as the team’s head coach for the 2014 season. (The Pantagraph/Joel Fellers)

BLOOMINGTON — The Bloomington Edge did not have to look very far to find the fourth head coach in franchise history.

John Johnson, the team’s offensive coordinator, will replace Kenton Carr as the Edge coach for the team’s second season in the Champions Professional Indoor Football League.

“It feels really good. I’ve been with this organization for five years and they’ve treated me like gold,” said Johnson. “It’s just a good time for me and a good fit. I’ve been around all these people, it’s been fun.”

The 55-year-old Johnson, frequently called “Coach J,” began his coaching career as an administrative assistant and special teams assistant with the Green Bay Packers, spending three seasons under head coach Lindy Infante and one under Mike Holmgren.

He served as head coach at Kentucky Wesleyan from 1994-2002, winning two Division II coach of the year awards and setting the program record for coaching victories with 34.

He spent time on the staffs of the Peoria Pirates and Peoria Rough Riders before joining the Bloomington franchise in 2008.

“We selected ‘Coach J’ for his experience. He’s been an NFL assistant and a head coach in college and both programs have been successful,” said Edge owner and president David Holt. “He’s extremely organized and he gets what we’re trying to do.

“He has an intense concern for the players. During my exit interviews with the players, they all spoke highly of him so he has their respect. He’s going to be a great fit.”

Johnson believes the transition to the CPIFL played a role in the team suffering its first losing season since 2006 this year.

“Just changing leagues was eye-opening. With a year under our belt, hopefully we’ll get better at what we learned,” he said.

In addition to Johnson, Holt retained a majority of last year’s Edge staff. Nick Ruud has been promoted from offensive line coach to assistant coach and director of recruiting, while Ted Schmitz will serve as a special consultant.

Bryan Thomas and Mike Crumpler return to coach the defense, while former quarterback and University High School coach Dusty Burk rejoins the staff on offense and will be helped by Jim Meyer.

“One of the reasons it’s been fun, they’re a really fun group. They’re really good coaches but they’re better people,” said Johnson. “Coach Carr put us together and we thank him for getting this band together.”

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