NEW ORLEANS -- Tulane has hired Saints wide receivers coach Curtis Johnson as the new head coach of the Green Wave.

The university scheduled a formal announcement Monday afternoon, but several Saints players including Drew Brees said late Sunday that they've already been informed of Johnson's impending move from the Saints to Tulane.

"He's coached a lot of big-time players and he's been around a lot of big-time football," Brees said. "He's great for Tulane's program and the direction they want to go. They got a great coach in Curtis Johnson."

Johnson was on the sideline with the Saints on Sunday night for their win over the Detroit Lions.

Tulane is hoping Johnson, a New Orleans native who has been with the Saints since 2006, can turn around a program that has not been to a bowl since 2002.

The Green Wave has gone 31-76 since then, not winning more than five games in any of the past nine seasons.

In October, coach Bob Toledo resigned with a 15-40 record in four-and-a-half seasons.

Johnson played college football at Idaho. He later held assistant positions at several college programs, and recruiting was among his specialties.

After getting his first college job at Idaho in 1987, he moved to San Diego State from 1989-93, recruiting New Orleans native Marshall Faulk to the Aztecs.

After single seasons at SMU and California, he spent 10 seasons with the Miami Hurricanes, during which time he coached Andre Johnson, Santana Moss and Reggie Wayne.

Saints receivers said they would miss the coach who has shaped their careers in New Orleans.

"It definitely will be hard to see him go, but I'm definitely happy for him. It's just a great opportunity that he has to take advantage of," Marques Colston said. "He'll be great for the program. Just the energy and enthusiasm he brings from day to day, and he has a track record as a good recruiter. I think it will be a good fit."

Lance Moore called Johnson, "the ultimate players' coach."

"Some people might think he's a little different or unorthodox, but at the same time he's an awesome motivator, knows the game and played the game himself," Moore said. "I definitely see him getting those guys [at Tulane] right over there."