Despite the programme becoming one of the most competitive and stable outfits in a hotly contested North East region under his guidance, Coach Ben Johnson has announced he is stepping away from the Northumbria Mustangs this preseason due to continual issues working with the team’s parent institution to such an extent that he no longer believes the Team Northumbria brand actually has the best interest of its athletes at heart.
DC had been tracking growing concerns from players and coaches both at Northumbria and their nearby rival programmes that the Northumbria AU were providing worrying low levels of support to their American Football programme, including initially no, and eventually very distant, training facilities.
Per a Facebook post shared late last night Coach Johnson noted:
“It is with a very heavy heart that I resign as Head Coach of Northumbria Mustangs. It’s particularly tough to do this close to the season but with continual issues with facilities, I no longer believe in the ‘Team’ Northumbria brand.
To the players in the team, I never stopped believing in you and will continue to support you long after leaving the post. You guys are the reason that I have been there this long and made this decision so hard
To the coaches who committed so much time and effort, I can’t thank you enough. I hope that Northumbria begin to understand everything you give to the programme as volunteers.
So the big question is………what do you do when you aren’t coaching?
Our answer, Coach? Write 😉
The Mustangs themselves did not hold back in their statement regarding Coach Johnson’s departure:
“Due to no fault of our own, or his own, we are saddened to announce that Head Coach, Ben Johnson, has parted company with the team.
Unfortunately complete ineptitude from Team Northumbria, the athletic union that should be protecting its teams, has meant that we have lost Coach Johnson’s invaluable skill set and knowledge of the game.
Everyone here at the Mustangs would like to thank Coach Johnson for his tireless effort and persistence to make this programme what it has become.
During his time with the programme Coach Johnson built a culture of ‘Tough, Driven, Family’, culminating in making history last year winning Stan Calvert 52-0 and gaining Team Northumbria’s own award for ‘Best Stan Calvert Performance’. Everything the team did surrounded these three words, and he will certainly remain part of our family.
The team will look to fight what has gone wrong this pre-season with the use of the culture Coach Johnson implemented by uniting as one and looking to mount a challenge in the Div1A North of BUCS. Despite this meaning us competing for Team Northumbria, THIS team is not something we are willing to walk away from.”
DC has also reached out to Coach Johnson for further comment.