The year was 1986.
Vinny Testaverde was the Heisman Trophy winning quarterback of the high powered offense. Russell Maryland led a fierce and attacking defensive line on a totally suffocating defense.
While the University of Miami would lose the National title game that year they would come roaring back the very next year to win their second National Championship in 1987.
Those were the indeed the glory days or the Miami Hurricanes football program. In the nine year span between 1983 and 1991 the Hurricanes won four National Championships and played for another two. Simply put, college football had never seen such a dominating span by one team and probably never will again.
A big part of that domination was the result of then UM Athletic Director Sam Jankovich hiring a little known head coach from Oklahoma State named Jimmy Johnson. Johnson would take the reigns from Howard Schnellenberger after UM's first Championship in 1983 and turn UM into the most prominent college football program of the decade. On Thursday night his many contributions to college football will be formally recognized.The University of Miami and The National Football Foundation (NFF) & College Hall of Fame announced today that they will jointly honor Coach Jimmy Johnsonwith an NFF Hall of Fame Salute on November 1 at Sun Life Stadium during the game between the Hurricanes and Virginia Tech (ESPN).
"It's a special day for me because I spent so much time in college as both an assistant coach and a head coach.” said Johnson at the time of the announcement in May. "My time at the University of Miami really defines my career. It was probably the most fun time I ever had in my life prior to now, and we were able to do some things that I was extremely proud of."
The NFF Hall of Fame On-Campus Salute program is a hallowed tradition that began with the inaugural class in 1951, and to this day the salutes remain the first of numerous activities in each inductee’s Hall of Fame experience. During the NFF Hall of Fame On-Campus Salutes, each inductee returns to his alma mater to accept a Hall of Fame plaque that will remain on permanent display at the institution.
“Jimmy Johnson was a master at molding his players, instilling confidence in them and subsequently producing some of the most successful stretches of victories in college football history,” said NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell. “We are excited to immortalize his accomplishments in the College Football Hall of Fame, and we look forward to celebrating his stellar career with the Hurricane faithful this weekend.”
The Oklahoma State head coach from 1979-83 and Miami head coach from 1984-88, Jimmy Johnson continuously led his teams to victory, earning numerous coaching honors along the way and the national championship with the Hurricanes in 1987, capped by a 20-14 victory over Oklahoma in the 1988 Orange Bowl.
At Miami, he enjoyed a 52-9 mark in five seasons with five New Year’s Day bowl appearances. During his final four seasons in Miami, he posted a remarkable 44-4 record, including four top 10 finishes and two national title appearances. He earned two National Coach of the Year distinctions while coaching 12 First Team All-Americans. Johnson’s tenure was the genesis of an NCAA-record 58 home-game winning streak, which lasted from 1985-94.
Johnson becomes the third Hurricane head coach to earn induction, joining (listed with year of induction) Jack Harding (1980) and Andy Gustafson (1985). Miami players in the Hall of Fame include Gino Torretta (2009), Ted Hendricks (1987), Don Bosseler (1990), Bennie Blades (2006), Arnold Tucker (2008) and Russell Maryland (2011).
We encourage all Hurricane fans to join the University of Miami and the NFF to honor Head Coach Jimmy Johnson with this special tribute during the game this Thursday night at Sun Life Stadium.