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Tech's Johnson gets new 7-year deal

ATLANTA - Georgia Tech first-year coach Paul Johnson was given a new 7-year, $17.7 million contract on Thursday.

The school said Johnson, who led a team picked to finish near the bottom of the Atlantic Coast Conference to a 9-3 record and its first win in eight years over in-state rival Georgia, will receive $2.3 million for 2009, plus incentives.

Johnson was voted ACC Coach of the Year. The Yellow Jackets are ranked No. 15 in the AP poll and will meet LSU in the Chick-fil-A Bowl on Dec. 31.

'The future of Georgia Tech football has never been brighter,' athletic director Dan Radakovich said, 'and we are thrilled that Paul Johnson will be leading our program for a long time.'

Georgia Tech, a preseason pick to finish fourth in the Coastal Division, surged above expectations to go 3-1 against ranked teams. The Yellow Jackets beat Clemson, Miami and Florida State en route to a 9-3 record in the conference, tying Virginia Tech for the division title.

In their final game of the regular season, the Yellow Jackets beat Georgia for the first time since 2000.

Johnson won more games than any other first-year coach in Georgia Tech history and has the fourth-most wins by a first-year coach in ACC history.

'I look forward to continue being a part of the Georgia Tech family for years to come,' he said.

Georgia Tech flourished under the spread option offense that Johnson brought with him from Navy and Georgia Southern. He changed the terminology, dropping 'tailbacks' and 'fullbacks' for 'A-backs' and 'B-backs.'

It certainly helped Jonathan Dwyer, who ended up being the ACC player of the year and was the league's top rusher. He averaged 110.7 yards on the ground each game and was the only player in the league to average 100 yards rushing.

The Yellow Jackets led the league in both total offense and rushing offense while finishing third nationally in the run game with an average of 282.3 yards.

Johnson, hired in December last year, now has a 116-42 record during six seasons as a coach at Georgia Tech, Navy and Georgia Southern.