By Dorothy J. Gentry
Michael Johnson, the long-time beloved and popular head football coach at Bishop Dunne High School in Oak Cliff, has been let go amidst a restructuring of the school’s athletic department that was announced in a letter to parents on Friday.
Johnson, a two-time TAPPS (Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools) state championship coach started coaching and teaching at Dunne in 2005 after he graduated from the school. He became head coach in 2009, finishing with a 73-58 record and two TAPPS Division 1 state championships in 2014 and 2018.
Bishop Dunne President Thomas Maj said in the letter “our football program will be going in a different direction under new leadership.
“We thank Coach Michael Johnson, a Bishop Dunne alumnus, for his 15 years of service and his dedication to football. At this time, I am announcing a search for a new head football coach,” Maj said in a letter sent to parents via email at 3:30 pm Friday afternoon.
“In the interim, Assistant Coach Louis Fite, has agreed to act as Interim Head Football Coach for Bishop Dunne. A committee will soon be assembled to review candidates for the permanent head football coaching position at Dunne.”
According to the information in the letter, the decision to move on from Johnson is part of an ongoing restructuring of the sports program after a months-long review of operations.
The months-long review of our athletics program has shown a disproportionate amount of resources devoted to some sports teams compared to other sports teams and academic programs. Additionally, the expenses of running some programs have been unsustainable for our school. The review also found difficulties in communication and collaboration across athletics, facilities and business units.
Thus, the first steps toward restructuring our athletic program to better align with our school’s core mission will focus on providing greater equity in the distribution of our resources across both sports teams and academic programs. We want to be able to offer a greater breadth of sports programs for male and female students in both middle school and high school. These changes will benefit all of our students.
Maj said changes were necessary both because of the ongoing restructuring, and because “our athletic conference, TAPPS, moved Bishop Dunne into a football division more appropriate for a school our size.”
Johnson could not be reached for comment but supporters took to social media Friday evening to express their support of him.
“Tough to see. Truly great guy who loved his job. Hate to see him gone.” Rusty Oglesby, offensive coordinator at John Paul II High school in Plano.
“Thanks for the opportunity to be a part of your staff. I know God has better for you and he is in full control.” Coach Chad Morris
Parent Dana White: “Thank you Coach Johnson for class personified. Your taking leadership and providing guidance of young men through the year has been amazing. You’re a winner and all the young men you’ve coached have been blessed to have you! I will witness your abilities again I’m sure.”
And from the team’s star quarterback, junior Simeon Evans who has several Division 1 offers: “I usually don’t speak on here but to a man that has done nothing but let young men showcase their god-given ability. To a man that has shaped so many lives, including mine. We love you and thank you for everything.”
Of the decision, school president Taj added: “It is important to recognize these are difficult changes and we do not make them lightly. We are working toward a school and an athletic program that is equitable, inclusive and high performing across all subjects and sports.”