Curtis Johnson 'so happy' to see Tulane return to bowl game

Former Tulane football coach Curtis Johnson hopes the Green Wave can do something later this month that he failed to do in his four years at the helm.

Johnson helped lead Tulane to the New Orleans Bowl in 2013, but his team lost to Louisiana-Lafayette. So, when the Green Wave plays the Ragin' Cajuns on Dec. 15 in the Cure Bowl in Orlando, Florida, Johnson wants to see a different outcome.

"I just hope they win it," Johnson said last week. "I couldn't win it, so I hope they do."

Tulane last won a bowl game in 2002, defeating Hawaii in the Hawaii Bowl under former coach Chris Scelfo.

Johnson, the senior offensive assistant and wide receivers coach for the New Orleans Saints, coached Tulane from 2012-15. The Green Wave struggled to losing seasons in 2012, 2014 and 2015, but in 2013, they went 7-5 to secure the bowl game.

This year, Tulane finished the regular season 6-6 to clinch a bowl berth.

“I’m happy for them,” Johnson said. “They deserve it. A lot of those kids (I knew) are still playing. I think the coach has done a magnificent job.”

Willie Fritz took over as head coach in 2016, and after going 4-8 that year then 5-7 in 2017, Fritz will coach in his first bowl game for Tulane in two weeks.

Johnson, who spent 2016 as an assistant with Chicago Bears before rejoining the Saints in 2017, still pays attention to the program and said he talks with the Tulane assistant coaches when the Green Wave practice at the Saints facility in Metairie.

“My hat goes off to Fritz because I know how hard that job is,” Johnson said. “I think he’s done a tremendous job, and man, I’m so happy.”