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Tulsa Promotes Denver Johnson To Offensive Coordinator

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TULSA, Ok -

Tulsa head coach Bill Blankenship announced today that assistant head coach and offensive line coach Denver Johnson will add the responsibility of offensive coordinator for the Golden Hurricane.

Blankenship also indicated that Dan Bitson moves from running back coach to receiver coach and David Johnson will serve as running back coach. Earlier this week, Josh Blankenship was named Tulsa's quarterback coach.

Johnson is in his fourth season with the Hurricane, coming from Colorado where he spent two seasons as the offensive line coach. At Tulsa, Johnson has had five offensive linemen earn all-conference honors and has seen a Tulsa offense rank among the nation's best for fewest quarterback sacks and TFLs over the last two seasons.

A 1981 Tulsa graduate, Johnson spent 12 years as a head football coach, including three years at Murray State (1997-99) and nine years at Illinois State (2000-08), compiling an overall 69-66 career coaching mark.

Johnson also served as the offensive line coach at Tennessee Martin, Oklahoma State, Mississippi State and Oklahoma.

"Certainly, Denver has vast offensive experience and knowledge in his many years as an offensive coach and head coach," Blankenship said. "I am extremely comfortable with Denver's philosophy and his leadership."

Bitson was an All-America receiver for the Golden Hurricane in 1988 and 1989. He returned for his second coaching stint with the Hurricane prior to the 2012 campaign. In two seasons, Tulsa running backs have rushed for 4,796 yards and 49 touchdowns, while Trey Watts earned first-team all-Conference USA honors in 2013.

Bitson came to Tulsa after three years as the head coach at Tulsa's McLain High School. His collegiate coaching experience included stints at Auburn, Kentucky, Lincoln (Mo.) University and Northwestern (La.) State. He also coached at Trinity Valley Community College after graduating from Tulsa in 1991.

David Johnson returned to Tulsa last year as a graduate assistant coach. He was the starting quarterback for the Hurricane in 2008 as a senior, throwing for 4,059 yards and 46 touchdowns in 14 games.

The younger Blankenship has spent the past 11 years coaching in the prep ranks in Oklahoma. He spent seven years as an assistant coach at Tulsa Union High School, one year for the NOAH home-school team and the last three seasons as the head coach at Muskogee High School.

He completed his playing career at Eastern Washington University in 2002 as a second-team All-American. Blankenship threw for 3,243 yards, 294.8 yards per game and 30 TDs with a passing efficiency of 145.3 his senior season and was named the Big Sky Conference Offensive MVP.

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