Sooners Elevate Pitching Coach Skip Johnson To Head Coach
Skip Johnson, who served as pitching coach under Oklahoma coach Pete Hughes this season and is considered a mentor to Clayton Kershaw, has been named Hughes' replacement, the school announced Monday.
Hughes resigned June 12 after four years at OU, where he was 128-107-1 and reached a regional for the first time this year. But the Sooners went 1-2 in Louisville, their season ending with back-to-back blowout losses to Louisville (11-1) and Xavier (11-0).
For Johnson, it's his first head coaching job in Division I, but he was head coach at Navarro (Texas) JC—where he first encountered Kershaw, who was going to high school about 60 miles away. Johnson was an assistant coach and associate coach to Augie Garrido at Texas from 2003-2016 and left for Oklahoma after he was passed over for the job upon Garrido's retirement, admitting he was unhappy about it.
Texas instead hired David Pierce away from Tulane to replace Garrido.
While at UT, Johnson's staffs ranked in the top 10 in Division I in ERA six times, and he coached All-Americans and future big leaguers such as Taylor Jungmann and Corey Knebel. In his one season as pitching coach for the Sooners, Oklahoma pitchers surrendered the fewest home runs in the Big 12.
"It's an exciting new day for Sooner baseball with the hiring of Skip Johnson as our head coach," Oklahoma vice president and athletics director Joe Castiglione said. "Once our search got underway last week, we spoke to many people throughout the youth, college and professional baseball worlds about the candidates we were considering, and the information gleaned from those conversations further validated our belief that Skip is the right and the best choice for our program now and going forward."
During Johnson's tenure in Austin, 32 pitchers were selected in the MLB Draft, including 14 in the first 10 rounds and three first-round picks.
"More than anything, I'm honored," Johnson said. "As head coach at OU, I'm going to do everything I can to make our alumni and our fan base very proud. We're going to recruit and develop student-athletes who possess the intangibles and the heart necessary to win conference and national championships, we're going to abide by a set of core values that our players will clearly understand, and we'll have a player program that is going to develop young men on and off the field. OU baseball is going to be here for a long, long time, and I'm excited and honored to have the opportunity to leave a positive mark on this tradition-rich program."
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|2017 COACHING CHANGES|
|Alabama||Greg Goff||Brad Bohannon|
|Cincinnati||Ty Neal||Scott Googins|
|Citadel||Fred Jordan||Tony Skole|
|East Tennessee State||Tony Skole|
|Incarnate Word||Danny Heep|
|La Salle||Mike Lake|
|Massachusetts||Mike Stone||Matt Reynolds|
|North Florida||Smoke Laval||Tim Parenton|
|Oklahoma||Pete Hughes||Skip Johnson|
|Santa Clara||Dan O'Brien|
|South Carolina||Chad Holbrook|
|Stanford||Mark Marquess||Dave Esquer|
|Tennessee||Dave Serrano||Tony Vitello|
|Texas-Rio Grande Valley||Manny Mantrana||Derek Matlock|
|Virginia Tech||Patrick Mason||John Szefc|