VERMILLION, S.D.—University of South Dakota head coach Bob Nielson is pleased to announce that Travis Johansen, who has spent the last six seasons at Grand View University in Iowa, has agreed to be defensive coordinator for the Coyotes.
“Coach Johansen is a bright and innovative defensive mind,” said Nielson. “His defensive units have performed at a consistently high level, and he has played a significant role in multiple conference and national championships.”
Johansen has been the defensive coordinator at Grand View since 2013. The Vikings were 61-11 in his six seasons with five conference championships, six NAIA playoff appearances and the 2013 national title following a 14-0 campaign. Grand View finished in the top-15 of the national rankings all six seasons including four top-10 rankings.
“I couldn’t be more excited to be a part of the Vermillion community,” said Johansen. “In my short time visiting the USD campus and the city of Vermillion, it was glaringly apparent this was a special place. Coach Nielson, Mr. (David) Herbster and the rest of the USD community have done an incredible job setting the stage for the future of Coyote football. The investment to providing an elite experience to our student-athletes is second to none. My family and I can’t wait to get started.”
Johansen was a Heart of America Assistant Coach of the Year finalist in each of the last two seasons, and was a national coordinator of the year finalist in 2015. He was even featured in a Sports Illustrated article, “The Search to Save NFL Defenses,” this past November. Grand View has been ranked as one of the top NAIA defenses throughout Johansen’s stay there and has produced seven defensive All-Americans.
Johansen grew up in Blaine, Minnesota, and was a standout linebacker at Concordia University in St. Paul, Minnesota, where he earned all-NSIC honors as a team captain and won two NSIC championships. He graduated with a degree in kinesiology and sport science and stayed on staff at Concordia for seven years before moving to Grand View.
Johansen worked with the secondary at his alma mater before being promoted to defensive coordinator in 2011. The year prior, the Golden Bears won eight games, most in their Division II era, and competed in the Mineral Water Bowl. He recruited Concordia’s first-ever NFL Draft pick in Zach Moore.
In his playing career, Johansen was a four-year starter with a 33-13 record including a 24-7 mark in conference play. He finished with 221 career tackles, 23.5 for loss, and 5.0 sacks.
He and his wife, Natalie, have a daughter, Laila.