The Pittsburgh Penguins yesterday named Bob Johnson as their coach and Scotty Bowman director of player development and recruitment.

Penguins General Counsel J. Paul Martha said he hoped the hirings would help turn around the team's "mediocre performance over the last decade."

General Manager Craig Patrick said he had been considering Johnson since December, when Patrick took the job with the team following the firing of general manager Tony Esposito and coach Gene Ubriaco.

"He's a great teacher, a great communicator, a great motivator," Patrick said of Johnson. "He has great knowledge of every aspect of the game."

Johnson, 59, executive director of USA Hockey, coached the University of Wisconsin team for 15 years and the Calgary Flames for five before joining USA Hockey in 1987.

Johnson described himself as "positive and enthusiastic -- a guy who enjoys going to the rink, who enjoys his work."

Bowman, the most successful coach in NHL history, will evaluate players. "I've done most jobs in hockey. I tried to do too much," he said. "So now I'm getting a chance to zero in on one phase of the game."

Bowman won five Stanley Cups as coach of the Montreal Canadiens and also had coaching stints with the St. Louis Blues and Buffalo Sabres.

Bowman, who has been a commentator for "Hockey Night in Canada" for the past three years, was in contention for several NHL jobs and was courted by numerous groups seeking expansion franchises.