WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — A West Palm Beach restaurant owner is preparing for Super Bowl Sunday but will be keeping a close watch on the sidelines to see his former football coach in action.
Mike Johnson is a former football player from Pahokee who went on to play for Temple University in 1986 when Bruce Arians was head coach.
Arians was at Temple from 1983-88. He went on to become an assistant coach in college and the NFL before getting his opportunity to become a head coach in the NFL in 2012.
Even though it's been decades since the two were on the same team, Arians and Johnson remained in touch over the years, along with several fellow teammates from Temple.
Arians became head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2019 and invited Johnson and other former Temple football players to Tampa to explore the area.
"Yes, we're very close knit to this day," Johnson said. "When he took the job in Tampa Bay, all the guys came down and he took us around and showed us the facility. Everybody always keeps close tabs on each other."
Johnson credits Arians for much of his success as a restaurant owner in West Palm Beach, leaning on his words of wisdom for support and ongoing encouragement.
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"It's not like a one-time event," Johnson said about the Temple football team reunion. "We meet and greet every year. They come here every year. In fact, they planned on coming here before the pandemic. Unfortunately, we had to postpone it, but we're going to reschedule. We're going to continue what we do."
Johnson opened up Majestic Ash Lounge & Southern Spice in West Palm Beach's hip and trendy Northwood Village last September.
Even though he's rooting on his former coach on Super Bowl Sunday, he is welcoming all fans to enjoy the watch party, including Kansas City Chiefs fans.
Majestic Ash Lounge & South Spice is located at 407 Northwood Road. For more information about the Super Bowl watch party, click here.