LSU Gold

Jay Johnson Season 2023

Jay Johnson
Head Coach
(225) 578-4148
Oroville, Calif.
Alma Mater
Point Loma Nazarene (2001)

A proven track record of postseason success, explosive lineups and highly-ranked recruiting classes make LSU’s Jay Johnson one of the best college baseball coaches in the nation. He has made a significant impact at every program he’s led, and he is one of the most energetic, innovative and focused coaches in America.

Entering his second season as the head coach of the storied, six-time national champion LSU program, Johnson is poised to lead the Tigers to an elite level.

He was named the head coach at LSU on June 25, 2021, after guiding Arizona to the Pac-12 championship and a berth in the College World Series.

“I view this as the opportunity of my lifetime,” Johnson said on the day of his LSU hiring, “and I will do everything in my power to have our team playing a brand of baseball that makes everyone at LSU, the Baton Rouge community and the entire state of Louisiana incredibly proud.”

In addition to his reputation for developing hitters, Johnson is also considered one of the top recruiters in college baseball. His impact at LSU was immediate, as Perfect Game ranked the Tigers’ November 2021 signing class No. 1 in the nation. Perfect Game, Collegiate Baseball and Baseball America in the fall of 2022 named LSU’s combined class of incoming signees and transfers the best in America, signaling tremendous optimism for the Tigers’ 2023 season.

The 2022 LSU squad posted a 40-22 mark under Johnson’s direction and advanced to the final round of the NCAA Hattiesburg Regional. The Tigers finished 17-13 in the SEC and placed fourth in the league, marking LSU’s first Top 4 conference finish since 2017.

The ’22 Tigers were led by centerfielder Dylan Crews, who was voted a consensus first-team All-American and the Southeastern Conference Co-Player of the Year. Crews, who is projected to be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2023 MLB Draft, become the first LSU Tiger to earn SEC Player of the Year honors since outfielder Raph Rhymes in 2012.

Johnson also developed LSU third baseman Jacob Berry, the sixth overall pick – and the first college player selected – in the 2022 MLB Draft by the Miami Marlins; and second baseman Cade Doughty, the second-round choice of the Toronto Blue Jays.

Johnson’s first season at LSU featured tremendous SEC road series victories at eighth-ranked Florida; at Mississippi State, the 2021 College World Series champion; and at Vanderbilt, the 2021 CWS runners-up.

The ’22 Tigers were one of the top offensive teams in the nation, finishing in the Top 3 in the SEC in runs scored (No. 2 – 503), slugging percentage (No. 2 – .516), total bases (No. 2 – 1100); on-base percentage (No. 2 – .404), RBI (No. 2 – 477), home runs (No. 3 -114), batting average (No. 3 – .289) and hit-by-pitch (No. 1 – 125).

The architect of college baseball’s best offense in 2021, Johnson led Arizona to two College World Series appearances – including a Championship Series berth in 2016 – over five full seasons, regularly producing the nation’s most potent lineups and signing top players from across the country.

After landing college baseball’s No. 4 recruiting class in the fall, Johnson’s 2021 Wildcats smashed their way to Omaha in the spring, leading the nation in hits and ranking first in the Pac-12 in runs, hits, doubles, triples, RBI, walks, batting average, on base percentage, slugging percentage, total bases, and extra base hits.

Overall, Johnson’s Wildcat teams finished first in the Pac-12 in hits, runs, and on base percentage in four of his five full seasons, while leading the league in slugging percentage, on base percentage, runs per game, and batting average in three seasons. And in each of his final two full seasons, the Wildcats topped the league in hits, walks, runs, runs per game, slugging percentage, on base percentage, and batting average.

When he was hired by Arizona after the 2015 season, Johnson took the reins of a program with a rich tradition and instantly made it richer. In 2016, he became the fifth coach ever – and the first since 1994 – to lead his team to the College World Series finals in his first season. That team, which had finished 12-18 and 9-21 in the Pac-12 in its previous two seasons, slugged its way to Omaha, finishing fifth nationally in hits and leading the conference in walks, doubles, hits, runs, and stolen bases.

The Wildcats returned to the NCAA Tournament in 2017 and finished first in the Pac-12 in batting average, doubles, base hits, on-base percentage, runs, scoring and slugging percentage. In 2019, Johnson’s offense led all Power 5 teams and finished second nationally in runs per game, slugging percentage, and on base percentage, while finishing third in batting average and total runs.

Both Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball ranked Johnson’s 2020 signing class No. 4 in the country – the highest ranking for a program west of the Mississippi River. The class featured 14 players from six states, including two players who ranked in Perfect Game’s Top 100 prep rankings. In 2018 and 2019, Johnson landed Collegiate Baseball’s No. 3 and No. 11 ranked classes, respectively.

Arizona was not the first program where Johnson’s impact was felt instantly. Prior to his success at Arizona, Johnson spent two seasons as head coach at the University of Nevada, earning Mountain West Coach of the Year honors in 2015 and leading the Wolfpack to their first ever conference championship in just his second season. That year, the Wolfpack finished 41-15 and ranked first in the country in on base percentage, second in slugging percentage, and third in batting average.

Johnson spent 2006 to 2013 as the associate head coach at the University of San Diego, where he spearheaded recruiting efforts and served as the hitting coach over eight seasons. There, Johnson helped sign the nation’s No. 1 class in 2008 and No. 2 class in 2010, and USD’s lineups topped the WCC in hitting six times. At USD, Johnson recruited and coached Kris Bryant, who won the Golden Spikes Award and the Dick Howser Award as the nation’s top player before the Cubs selected him No. 2 overall in the 2013 MLB Draft.

Johnson’s coaching career began at his alma mater, Point Loma Nazarene, where he served as an assistant coach from 2002 to 2004 before accepting the head coaching position in 2005 at 27 years old. He finished his playing career at Point Loma in 2001, hitting .326 as a senior and earning a Gold Glove as the team’s starting second baseman.

A native of Oroville, Calif., Johnson becomes the 26th head coach in LSU baseball history, succeeding Paul Mainieri, who retired after the 2021 season. Johnson and his wife Maureen, a former University of Arizona soccer player, were married in 2016.

The Jay Johnson File

Career Head Coaching Record (entering 2023 season)
357-194 (.648, 10 seasons)

at LSU:  40-22 (.645, one season, 2022)
at Arizona:  208-114 (.646, six seasons, 2016-21)
at Nevada:  72-42 (.632, two seasons, 2014-15)
at Point Loma Nazarene:  37-16 (.698, one season, 2005)

Assistant Coaching Career
at Point Loma Nazarene (2002-04)
at San Diego (associate head coach, 2006-13)


Birthdate: April 20, 1977
Hometown: Oroville, Calif.
Education: B.S. (2001) in physical education from Point Loma Nazarene; M.S. in physical education from Azusa Pacific
Wife: Married to the former Maureen Marshall of South Bend, Ind.

Coaching Highlights

2022 Signed Nation’s No. 1 Recruiting Class at LSU
2022 Coached LSU All-American Jacob Berry, No. 6 overall pick in 2022 Draft
2022 Coached LSU All-American Dylan Crews, projected No. 1 overall pick in 2023 Draft
2021 Directed Arizona to the College World Series
2021 Pac-12 Conference Coach of the Year
2021 Pac-12 Conference Champions at Arizona
2016 Guided Arizona to the College World Series Finals
2015 Mountain West Conference Coach of the Year
2015 Mountain West Conference Champions at Nevada
2013 Coached Kris Bryant, Dick Howser Award Winner
2010 Signed Nation’s No. 2 Recruiting Class at San Diego
2008 Signed Nation’s No. 1 Recruiting Class at San Diego
2005 Led Point Loma Nazarene to No. 6 NAIA ranking

Jay Johnson Head Coaching Record

Year School Record Notes
2005 Point Loma Nazarene 37-16 Led PLNU to a No. 6 NAIA ranking
Point Loma Nazarene Total (1 Year) 37-16
2014 Nevada 31-27
2015 Nevada 41-15 Mountain West Conference Champions
Nevada Total (2 Years) 72-42
2016 Arizona 49-24 UA finishes as CWS National Runners-Up
2017 Arizona 38-21 UA leads Pac-12 in eight offensive categories
2018 Arizona 34-22 UA finishes in Pac-12 Top 3 in runs and on-base pct.
2019 Arizona 32-24 UA finishes No. 1 in Power 5 in batting average
2020 Arizona 10-5 Season canceled after 15 games by COVID-19
2021 Arizona 45-18 UA advances to CWS for 2nd time in five full seasons
Arizona Total (6 Years) 208-114
2022 LSU 40-22 LSU places 4th in the SEC and advances to NCAA Regional final
LSU Total (1 Year) 40-22
10-Year Head Coaching Record: 357-194 (.648)

MLB Players Coached by Jay Johnson

at Arizona (head coach)
Chase Silseth, Los Angeles Angels
Andrew Nardi, Miami Marlins
Ryan Aguilar, Los Angeles Angels
Cal Stevenson, Oakland Athletics
Alfonso Rivas, Chicago Cubs
Tylor Megill, New York Mets
JJ Matijevic, Houston Astros
Jared Oliva, Pittsburgh Pirates
Bobby Dalbec, Boston Red Sox
Kevin Ginkel, Arizona Diamondbacks

at Nevada (head coach)
TJ Friedl, Cincinnati Reds
JoJo Romero, Philadelphia Phillies

at San Diego (associate head coach)
Connor Joe, Colorado Rockies
Kris Bryant, Colorado Rockies
Dylan Covey, Chicago White Sox
PJ Conlon, New York Mets
Paul Sewald, Seattle Mariners
James Pazos, Seattle Mariners
Zach Walters, Washington Nationals
Sammy Solis, Washington Nationals
AJ Griffin, Texas Rangers
Brian Matusz, Baltimore Orioles
Anthony Slama, Minnesota Twins
Josh Butler, Milwaukee Brewers

at Point Loma Nazarene (head coach)
Mike Ekstrom, Tampa Bay Rays