Top honors again: LSU baseball coach Jay Johnson picks up third national Coach of Year award

LSU National Champion Coach Jay Johnson
PHOTO by LSU Athletics

For the third time this postseason, LSU baseball coach Jay Johnson was recognized by a media outlet as the national Coach of the Year.

This time Johnson, who earlier received such acclamation from Collegiate Baseball and the American Baseball Coaches Association, was honored by D1Baseball.

Below is an excerpt from D1 Baseball’s feature on Johnson, written by Kendall Rogers and available at www.d1baseball.com:

With that accumulation of sheer talent, expectations were sky high for the Tigers entering the 2023 campaign. As rugged as it might seem, LSU fans expected nothing short of the program’s seventh national championship, and we had the Tigers ranked as the No. 1 team in the country in our Preseason Top 25 Rankings.

They were supposed to be a gargantuan force. What we didn’t know is how Johnson would manage the different egos, and a rash of injuries to the pitching staff … The answer? Johnson couldn’t have handled the entire situation better.

 “The thing about Jay is that he never, ever backed down from the expectations that were put on these guys,” LSU Athletics Director Scott Woodward said. “He accepted it, and he embraced it. He loved the expectations, and he certainly loved the pressure. In the end, that’s just what winners do.”

Johnson, in his second season, directed LSU to the national championship that included a 18-4 victory over Florida in the third and deciding game of the College World Series.

Johnson led LSU to its seventh national title and its first since 2009. He also guided the Tigers to their first College World Series appearance since 2017 and their first 50-win season since 2017.

He’s 411-211 (66.1%) in 11 seasons as a college head coach, including a 94-39 (70.7%) at LSU.

LSU was the nation’s consensus No. 1 team for the first 12 weeks of the regular season, and the Tigers finished. The Tigers were 19-10 in Southeastern Conference play, their best mark since 2017.

LSU’s team featured three first-team All-Americans – center fielder Dylan Crews, the Golden Spikes Award winner; right-handed pitcher Paul Skenes, the Dick Howser Trophy recipient; and third baseman Tommy White, the nation’s leader in RBI (105).

Skenes and Crews made Major League Baseball history on July 9 by becoming the first players from the same school to be selected No. 1-2 overall in the MLB Draft. An SEC-record 13 LSU players were selected in the MLB Draft, a total which is the third-highest in NCAA history.

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