Augustus Cornelius Johnson Jr.
August 10, 1967
|Occupation||Fox Sports commentator|
|Title||Fox Sports commentator (2011–present)|
|Sports commentary career|
|Sports||Basketball, American football, Boxing|
Augustus Cornelius Johnson Jr. (born August 10, 1967) is an American sportscaster. He currently calls play-by-play for Fox Sports, most notably as their lead announcer for college football and college basketball. Johnson is well-known for his enthusiastic playcalling.
Johnson attended the University of Detroit Jesuit High School and Academy. He graduated in 1985. That same year, according to the winter 1997 edition of University of Detroit Jesuit's alumni magazine, Highlights, Johnson was all-league quarterback for the school's football team, an all-league shooting guard on the basketball team, and first baseman and catcher on the baseball team. The 1984–1985 University of Detroit Jesuit yearbook also notes that Johnson was a co-captain of both the football and basketball teams and most valuable player on the latter.
Johnson subsequently graduated from Howard University with a degree in political science in 1990 and was a four-year letter winner on Howard's baseball team. Born in Detroit, he is a resident of New York City.
Johnson called play-by-play for the NBA's Minnesota Timberwolves (1996–97), Big East Basketball on the Big East Network, college hockey and college basketball on ESPN, and Canadian Football League games for ESPN2. He also did NFL games for CBS from 1998–2010.
Johnson hosted ESPN's Black College Sports Today in 1991. After brief stints as an on-air personality with KXXV-TV in Waco, Texas, WAAY-TV in Huntsville, Alabama, and WXII-TV in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, he served as the weekend anchor for WTTG-TV in Washington, D.C., from 1991 to 1992. Gus also had a small cameo, as an announcer, in the 1998 film He Got Game.
Johnson called numerous sports for CBS Sports, with his most recognized role as a play-by-play announcer for CBS' March Madness, which he worked each year from 1996 to 2011. Johnson is particularly known for his calls at the end of several close NCAA Tournament games. On his first day of calling tournament games for CBS in 1996, he called Princeton's 43-41 win over UCLA. His other famous games include UCLA's 17-point comeback over Gonzaga in 2006, the double-overtime Xavier vs Kansas State game on March 25, 2010, and George Mason's upset of Villanova in 2011.
Johnson worked for the Madison Square Garden Network (MSG) from 1994–2010, where he was the radio play-by-play and backup television play-by-play announcer of the NBA's New York Knicks, in addition to providing television play-by-play for MSG's coverage of the WNBA's New York Liberty. Johnson has also provided commentary for MSG's coverage of the Golden Gloves Tournament and served as host of the "Yankees ScoreCard" and "SportsDesk", as well as the New York Rangers and Knicks "GameNight." Beginning in 2006, Johnson served as the pre-season TV voice for the Buffalo Bills and Philadelphia Eagles. Johnson also provided play-by-play commentary for the Arena Football League's defunct New York Dragons.
Johnson became lead blow-by-blow caller for Showtime Championship Boxing on CBS-owned Showtime, replacing longtime voice Steve Albert. Johnson was also a mixed martial arts commentator for both EliteXC and Strikeforce through mid-2011. Johnson was widely derided for his commentary during the Kimbo Slice vs Seth Petruzelli fight, where he announced that the fight was "the most incredible victory in the history of mixed martial arts".
Johnson is also the play-by-play announcer for the fictional football games seen in commercials for Buffalo Wild Wings, in which games are rigged and sent into overtime to allow patrons to stay longer and enjoy the experience.
Before the 2010–11 NBA season, it was announced that Johnson was let go by MSG Network, the television flagship station for the New York Knicks. Johnson explained on February 16, 2012, on the Scott Ferrall Show, that he wanted to leave the Network in order to spend more time with his son.
CBS released Johnson on May 5, 2011 following a contract dispute. He was still scheduled to call a boxing match between Shane Mosley and Manny Pacquiao for Showtime two days later. On May 9, 2011, Johnson finalized a deal to call college football and NFL telecasts for Fox Sports.
In 2012, Johnson served as a radio play-by-play announcer of Major League Soccer's San Jose Earthquakes, working a few of the team's away games on radio. He was being groomed by Fox Sports to be its lead soccer announcer, and called his first UEFA Champions League match on February 13, 2013. It had been anticipated that Johnson would be Fox Sports' lead announcer for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. He is also the lead play-by-play announcer for Fox College Hoops reuniting with Bill Raftery, who works for CBS and formally with ESPN. As of September 15, 2014, Johnson stepped down as lead announcer for Fox Sports' soccer. Johnson just began play-by-play announcing marquee Big Ten regular season football games on Fox Sports during the 2017 season alongside of Joel Klatt. In 2017, they announced "The Game" which features Michigan and Ohio State.
Johnson was one of the top announcers in sports previously.  He often uses signature phrases "Hurt My Feelings!", "Oh my goodness!", "Rise and fire... Count it!", "Here comes the pain!", "He's got 'get away from the cops' speed!", "From the parking lot!", "And the Runner....Bang!", "Pure!", "BAM!", "Hot Sauce!", "Cold-Blooded!", "What a game!", "Down the Sideline!" and "HA-HAAA". Despite being known for his catchphrases, Johnson also utilizes silence at opportune times to let television viewers absorb the moment, such as during a 2015 college football matchup between Notre Dame and Stanford when Stanford kicked the game-winning field goal at the end of a high-scoring game.
As Knicks Announcer – With the Knicks, he was well known for some of his calls. For example, one famous Gus line occurs after Knicks forward Al Harrington scores: "My name is Al Harrington... And I get Buckets!" Perhaps Johnson's most famous Knicks call was his enthusiastic and exciting call during Allan Houston's last second shot to knock off the top-seeded Miami Heat in the first round of the 1999 playoffs, en route to an unlikely NBA Finals appearance.
March 23, 2006 – During the 2006 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament, Johnson was calling the Sweet 16 matchup between UCLA and Gonzaga. Gonzaga held a 71–70 lead with just 19.7 seconds left in the game, needing to wind the clock down while passing the ball in from its own side of the court:
Johnson: They give it to Morrison. He holds on.
Analyst Len Elmore: You don't want to foul Morrison. You make them get it over halfcourt, you know you gotta foul- [UCLA guard Jordan Farmar steals the ball from Gonzaga forward J. P. Batista] Woah!
Johnson: And a steal! Farmar! Inside...the freshman- [nearly inaudible over the crowd cheering as UCLA forward Luc Mbah a Moute scores a layup] Oh and they go in front! Raivio! Last chance to dance! [inaudible as UCLA steals the ball via a jump ball again before Gonzaga commits a foul, leaving just over 2 seconds left]
Johnson: Oh what a game! What a game! UCLA!
Elmore: Are you kidding me?!
Johnson: After being down by 17! Heartbreak city!
Following this sequence, Gonzaga had one last chance to score a game-winning basket, once again throwing the ball in from its side of the court.
Johnson: And they'll go ahead and throw it. Batista with THE CAATCH! [Batista shoots before the buzzer, but misses] And that's it! WHAT A COMEBACK! UCLA defeats Gonzaga 73–71 after being down 17!
As the game wound up having a tight finish, Johnson received praise for his enthusiastic announcing, earning the nickname "Screaming Gus Johnson". CBS Sports host Greg Gumbel later joked that Johnson would be "out of the hospital" by the next game.
September 14, 2009 – Johnson was calling an NFL regular season opening game between the Cincinnati Bengals and Denver Broncos. During the waning seconds of the game, Denver, down 6–7, needed to drive down the field to get into field goal range or score a touchdown. Quarterback Kyle Orton threw a pass to receiver Brandon Marshall near the sideline. Though the ball was tipped by Bengals defender Leon Hall, it landed into the hands of Broncos receiver Brandon Stokley, who ran it in for an improbable game-winning touchdown. Johnson's call of the play is as follows:
Johnson: Second down and 10 at the 13 [yard line].
Analyst Dan Fouts: In other words, about 60 yards [to get into field goal range].
Johnson: Orton in the gun, Buckhalter next to him. Orton... pumps again to the sideline... batted up- OH CAUGHT! STOKLEY! DOWN THE SIDELINE! CAN HE CATCH HIM!? STOKLEY! WOW! [Pause] Touchdown Denver! Unbelievable! [pause] Oh my goodness! What a play! 87 yards! [pause] Woah!"
In a later interview on The Dan Patrick Show, Johnson later explained of the play: "I thought I was gonna have a heart attack. It was the most incredible thing. I’ve seen a lot of great things in sports. I started doing this in 1990, but I’ve never seen anything; not like in that in football. I mean wow."
November 1, 2009 – Johnson was calling another regular season NFL game, this time between the Jacksonville Jaguars and Tennessee Titans when Titans running back Chris Johnson broke away for a 52-yard touchdown. This was Gus Johnson's call:
First down and 10... Johnson... gets a shoulder he's- WOW! Watch out! He's got gettin' away from the cops speed! Touchdown! [pause] 52 yards!
November 14, 2010 – Johnson called a miracle play during a game between the Jacksonville Jaguars and Houston Texans where Jaguars QB David Garrard threw a 50-yard Hail Mary intended for Mike Sims-Walker, but it was batted by Houston safety Glover Quin into the hands of Mike Thomas, whereupon Thomas stepped into the end zone and scored a game-winning touchdown:
Johnson: Garrard, steps up. Fires, Mike Sims-Walker! Knocked down!
Analyst Steve Tasker: Oh, he caught it!
Johnson: OHHHHHH! UNBELIEVABLE! Mike Thomas! Touchdown Jags! Ballgame! 50 yards! Woah! HA HAAAAAA!
December 5, 2015 – Johnson was the play-by-play announcer for Fox Sports's coverage of the 2015 Big Ten Football Championship Game between the number 5 ranked Michigan State Spartans and the number 4 ranked Iowa Hawkeyes, where Michigan State defeated 16–13, with true freshman running back LJ Scott powering his way for a touchdown with 27 seconds left in the game, giving Michigan State a berth in the 2016 College Football Playoff. Johnson's call of Scott's touchdown:
LJ Scott the deep man... LJ Scott running right! NO, HE DIDN'T GET IN! OR DID HE? YES! TOUCHDOWN SPARTANS! WHAT STRENGTH, BY THE TRUE FRESHMAN!
September 3, 2017 – Johnson was the play-by-play announcer for the Week 1 matchup between the Texas A&M Aggies and the UCLA Bruins, where UCLA came back from a 34 point deficit to win 45–44, capped off by a fake spike touchdown from Josh Rosen to Jordan Lasley with 43 seconds left to go. Johnson's play of the call:
October 17, 2017 – As the play-by-play announcer of a college football game between Ohio State and Maryland, Johnson added some playful commentary after Ohio State cornerback Denzel Ward laid a vicious hit on Maryland receiver Taivon Jacobs. Though the play ultimately resulted in Ward's ejection from the game, Johnson's enthusiasm was noted:
Second down after the 7-yard gain... [Maryland quarterback] Bortenschlager to the sideline, caught, first down. [Ward levels Jacobs, causing a fumble] Whoo! What a hit! Denzel Ward! You've got barbecue back there, and you didn't invite me? Hurt! My! Feelings!
December 8, 2018 – Johnson called the 2018 Citi Hoops Classic match-up between the Seton Hall Pirates and the 9th ranked Kentucky Wildcats at Madison Square Garden, where Keldon Johnson took a pass from P. J. Washington and made a half-court shot at the buzzer to tie the game at 70. Johnson's call of the final seconds of regulation:
Here's P.J. Washington, he can run the baseline. Throws it, midcourt, Keldon Johnson! [buzzer sounds] OHH! HE BURIED IT! WOW! AND WE'RE – LEVEL AT 70! Whoo! Unbelieveable. And we're going to overtime... at the Garden!
- Bishop, Greg (14 March 2011). "For Voice of March, Authenticity Comes With Sizzle". New York Times. Retrieved 15 March 2011.
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- David Fucillo (September 13, 2009). "Let's close out the night with Gus Johnson's call on the Broncos TD to beat Cincinnati". Niners Nation. SB Nation. Retrieved September 30, 2012.
- Powell, Brian (2009-09-15). "Gus Johnson Talks About Stokley Call". Awful Announcing. Retrieved 2019-10-23.
- Brown, Larry (2009-11-03). "Gus Johnson on Chris Johnson: He Has 'Getting Away from the Cops Speed'". Larry Brown Sports. Retrieved 2019-10-17.
- National Football League (2015-12-03). David Garrard's Improbable Game-Winning Hail Mary – Texans vs. Jaguars (2010) (Video). YouTube.
- "Gus Johnson Yelled About Barbecue After an Ejection-Worthy Hit By Ohio State". The Big Lead. 2017-10-07. Retrieved 2020-02-08.