Johnson named head coach in Norfolk

The Tampa Bay Lightning, NHL parent club of the Norfolk Admirals, have relieved Admirals head coach Darren Rumble of his duties and have named Jim Johnson head coach.

Leigh Mendelson will remain an assistant coach with the Admirals.

"We want to thank Darren Rumble for his service to the Norfolk Admirals and the Tampa Bay Lightning," said Lightning executive vice president and general manager Brian Lawton. "These are never easy decisions to make, but we feel the Admirals will be better served for the remainder of this season with Jim taking over as the team’s head coach. We hope this move can galvanize our team and give us the impetus we need to make a push for the playoffs when we get started again after the All-Star break."

Rumble led the Admirals to a 50-61-6-5 record in 122 games as Admirals head coach beginning last season. Prior to becoming head coach, Rumble served one season as Admirals assistant coach and two seasons as an assistant coach with the Lightning’s former AHL affiliate, the Springfield Falcons.

The Barrie, Ont., native began his coaching career immediately upon retiring from a 15-year pro playing career with the Falcons in December 2004.

Johnson began the 2009-10 season as associate coach of the Admirals. He had a lengthy NHL career as a defenseman, playing 829 games with 29 goals and 166 assists. His NHL career included stops in Pittsburgh, Minnesota, Dallas, Washington and Phoenix.

The New Hope, Minn., native also represented the United States in international competition on seven occasions including the 1991 Canada Cup.

Following his retirement, Johnson spent four years with the Phoenix Coyotes as a consultant to the general manager, broadcast analyst and an assistant coach. He has also served as a U.S. National Junior Team assistant coach at the IIHF World Junior Championships three times. Johnson has been involved with USA Hockey development programs at the state, regional and national levels as a coach, evaluator and presenter. He was named 2006 USA Hockey Volunteer Coach of the Year and was a finalist for the United States Olympic Committee Coach of the Year.

Johnson is not a newcomer to the Admirals this season, as he served as Tampa Bay’s development coach last season and was in Norfolk to evaluate and develop the Lightning’s prospects several times.