LSU To Hire Arizona's Jay Johnson As Next Head Coach
Louisiana State will on Friday hire Jay Johnson as its new head coach, sources confirmed to Baseball America.
Johnson, who took Arizona to the College World Series twice in six years as head coach, takes over the program after Paul Mainieri retired following the season. The move was first reported by D1Baseball.
Johnson has built an impressive track record as a head coach and in nine seasons is 317-170. He twice led Arizona to Omaha, first in 2016, his first season as head coach. The Wildcats reached the CWS finals that year, losing in three games to Coastal Carolina. He then led the Wildcats back to Omaha this season after winning the Tucson Regional and Super Regional. Arizona this year went 45-18 and won the Pac-12 title, its first outright conference championship since 1992.
Prior to arriving at Arizona, he was the head coach at Nevada for two seasons and in 2015 led the Wolf Pack to their first ever Mountain West Conference title. He also was the associate head coach at San Diego for eight seasons and spent four seasons at Point Loma Nazarene (Calif.), an NAIA school, including a season as head coach.
Johnson’s teams have long been known for their offensive prowess. Arizona this season had the best offense in the country, averaging 8.5 runs per game. True freshmen Jacob Berry and Daniel Susac both earned All-America honors for their roles in the powerful attack.
Johnson is a high-powered recruiter. At Arizona, he brought in five straight Top 25 classes. That run of recruiting came at a program that had landed just four ranked recruiting classes in the first 15 years of the Baseball America rankings.
Johnson’s recruiting prowess predates his time at a major program, however. While at San Diego, he landed the No. 1 recruiting class in the country in 2007 and a few years later recruited Kris Bryant.
Moving from the Pac-12 to the SEC is a rare move in college baseball—so rare that Johnson becomes the first head coach to do so this century. While that may make some nervous, Johnson’s ability on the recruiting trail should help him make the move successfully. He is one of the head coaches who is most active in recruiting, and that dedication has been a difference maker for him so far.
The SEC West Division is college baseball’s biggest challenge. But Johnson is equipped to take it on.