Vista Ridge football coach Les Johnson resigns

By Kevin Carmody Updated: December 18, 2013 at 2:02 am • Published: December 17, 2013 | 12:30 pm 0
photo - Les Johnson led Vista Ridge to the playoffs in each of his three seasons as head coach. (Jerilee Bennett, The Gazette file)
Les Johnson led Vista Ridge to the playoffs in each of his three seasons as head coach. (Jerilee Bennett, The Gazette file)

Falcon School District 49 on Tuesday announced the resignation of Vista Ridge football coach Les Johnson, whose teams went 25-9 in three seasons and qualified for the postseason each time.

“We thank Coach Johnson for his time with the Vista Ridge High School football program and wish him the best in the future,” Wolves first-year athletic director Devin Allen said in a press release prepared by the Stephanie Wurtz, the district’s public information officer.

In a previous statement made to The Gazette earlier Tuesday, Allen elected to defer to the forthcoming release, only to say the school “will be moving in a different direction.”

Johnson did not return a phone call made to his cell phone.

A native of New Orleans, Johnson previously coached football at Skyview Middle School, then became defensive coordinator at Vista Ridge when the school opened in 2008. In August 2011, he took over for Dean Huffman, fired days before the start of fall practice on the heels of a 10-3 mark and 3A state semifinal appearance the season before.

After Johnson’s team went 9-2 in 2011, the school headed in a different direction in January 2012 when it hired Oklahoma coach Rich Giesen. In a bizarre twist, Giesen’s offer was rescinded after the completion of a background check revealed that the coach was fired after an incident that was perceived to be hazing. In Giesen’s words, the incident was “some guys horsing around in the locker room.”

Johnson then accepted a subsequent offer to rejoin the football program.

In 2012, Vista Ridge lost in a second-round playoff game to Monarch, which won the 4A state title. The Coyotes eliminated the Wolves in the first round of the playoffs last month.

After the 2011 and 2012 seasons, a combined nine student-athletes signed letters of intent to play college football.

According to the press release, Johnson said he was looking forward to spending more time with his family and would pursue other coaching opportunities.

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