Gabe Johnson becomes next football coach

John Kelly, Editor

After seven seasons as the defensive coordinator under Mo Moriarity, Gabe Johnson will take full control of South football.

Of course, filling the shoes of a hall of fame coach is no easy task, but if anyone is right for the job, it’s Johnson. Moriarty and Johnson coached together for 13 of their last 15 seasons, both learning from each other.

“Coach Mo is a dying breed in coaching. He put all of his time into football from the moment he woke up to when he went to bed. Being with him for so long, you get a sense of the time commitment needed because he expects the same from his assistants. I knew I wanted to be a head coach someday so I knew I had to keep up with him,” said Johnson.

The hiring doesn’t come doesn’t come as much of a surprise to most, as Johnson came to Bloomington as Moriarity’s right hand man. However, South did go through a formal coaching search for about a month before determining Johnson was the right man for the job.

“As an internal candidate, it’s always a little tough because in an interview setting I know the people I’m talking to and they know me. I’m not going to wow anyone because I’ve been here for seven years and I don’t really have the wow-factor that a big name candidate from somewhere else would have.”

Having worked with Coach Moriarity for so long, Johnson admitted it would be different not having him around. 

“Him being gone? Yeah, it’s gonna be different. I think we’re going to be keeping most of our staff so I think that helps.” Johnson then began to grin, “I think there’s a possibility after he takes some time off he may find his way back to the sideline.”

Prior to Bloomington South, Johnson had stints at Edgewood, Bloomington North, and Carmel, before being hired as the head coach of 2A Triton Central. In his two seasons at Triton Central, Johnson posted a 14-10 record, which included the school’s first sectional championship in over 20 years. 

“Going from 4,500 kids at Carmel to a rural setting at Triton Central was culture shock. Then I came to South and got a good mix of guys.”

Given his familiarity with the current roster and experience leading a defense that found great success in 2019, Johnson seems poised to continue South’s winning tradition. The same tough, competitive brand of football can be expected in 2020 in years to come.