BATON ROUGE, La. – LSU coach Jay Johnson has been named 2023 National Coach of the Year by D1 Baseball, marking his third such honor since leading the Tigers last month to the National Championship.
Johnson was also voted National Coach of the Year earlier this summer by Collegiate Baseball and by the American Baseball Coaches Association.
Below is an excerpt from D1 Baseball’s feature on Jay 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.”
In just his second season at LSU, Johnson directed the Tigers to the National Championship as their drive to the title was culminated on June 26 with an 18-4 win over Florida in Game 3 of the College World Series Finals.
Johnson has a 411-211 (.661) record in 11 seasons as a college head coach, including a 94-39 (.707) mark in two seasons at LSU. He has a 30-13 record in NCAA Tournament games, including a 13-4 mark with the Tigers.
LSU was the nation’s consensus No. 1 team for the first 12 weeks of the regular season, and the Tigers finished the year at the pinnacle of college baseball.
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.
The Tigers completed the regular season with a 19-10 Southeastern Conference record, their best league mark since 2017.
LSU was No. 1 in the nation in runs scored (634) and in shutouts by its pitching staff (12). The Tigers finished No. 2 in the nation in homers (144), walks received (413), hit-by-pitches (143), on-base percentage (.432) and strikeouts pitched per nine innings (11.7).
LSU completed the year No. 5 in the nation in slugging percentage (.554); No. 6 in hits allowed per nine innings (7.67) and No. 8 in scoring (8.9 runs per game).
The pitching staff recorded a school-record 798 strikeouts, eclipsing the previous mark of 682 set in 1997.
The Tigers led the SEC in 12 offensive categories, including batting average (.308), slugging percentage (.554), on-base percentage (.432), runs (634), hits (744), RBI (582), total bases (1,337), HBP (143), walks (413); sacrifice flies (42); plate appearances (3,028) and at-bats (2,412).
LSU finished No. 2 in the SEC in home runs (144), doubles (125) and triples (18).
The 2023 Tigers featured three First-Team All-Americans – centerfielder 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.