Johnson began his career at Woodlawn in 2002, coaching football and track & field. He completed a master's in special education at Alabama State University in 2012 and an educational specialist degree from the University of West Alabama in 2015. He later taught at Huffman High School where he coached wrestling and football, and was laying the groundwork for a varsity wrestling team.
- "AHSAA mourns death of Huffman Coach Derrick Johnson." (January 12, 2021) AHSAA.com
- Dionee, Brittany (January 13, 2021) "Birmingham City Schools mourn loss of coach after battle with COVID-19." WBRC.com