BYU football program losing Shirley Johnson, 'anchor' of its office

Published: Tuesday, June 19 2012 7:00 p.m. MDT

Johnson recalls after the 1980 "Miracle Bowl" victory, "we got so many phone calls and letters with people's experiences watching that game. One guy hurt his head jumping on his bed and he hit the ceiling."

Some of the mail and phone calls weren't pleasant.

"When we didn't do well, we used to get nasty letters and phone calls," she said. "One lady up on campus called and made me cry after we lost to UTEP (in 1985). Now they just vent their frustrations on the Internet. That has really helped."

Of course, Johnson treasures her relationship with Edwards and his wife, Patti. When LaVell and Patti were serving an LDS mission in New York, she visited them. Sometimes she uses their condo in St. George.

"He's family. When we talk, it's like he's talking to his daughter. We've been so close," she said. "He still brings in his talks for me to type. I told him he's going to have to call ahead."

As Johnson steps into retirement, Doman said she will always be part of BYU football.

"Shirley is such a strong link to the tradition of this place and to our alumni and former coaches, families and parents. She has such a wealth of knowledge and background of this place," he said.

"She's truly devoted. She's as dedicated and loyal to BYU football as anybody in the world. She deserves as much recognition as any coach that's been here or any player that's been here. She's done phenomenal. We love her and appreciate her. We hope that she finds great joy in her retirement. We hope she knows that she's forever a member of our football program."

email: jeffc@desnews.com

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