As the College World Series in Omaha begins this week, Georgia faithful look in from the outside for the fifteenth straight year. The Bulldogs finished the 2023 baseball season with a 29-27 outright record, with only 11 wins coming in SEC play. Following this disappointment of a season, the program looks to return to its former glory with the recent hiring of new head coach Wes Johnson.
Johnson, who is still currently serving as LSU’s pitching coach as they return to Omaha for the first time since 2017, boasts an impressive track record featuring success at every level of the game. Before joining Jay Johnson’s staff at LSU, Wes became the first pitching coach to make the jump straight from college to the major leagues. Johnson spent three years as the pitching coach for the Minnesota Twins, featuring back-to-back American League Central titles in 2019 and 2020. Prior to making the transition to the professional ranks, Johnson established himself as a winner and pitching guru throughout college baseball. Johnson helped lead Dallas Baptist University (DBU) to three NCAA Regional appearances in his 4 years on staff before making the jump to the SEC. Following his success in Dallas, Johnson spent one year at Mississippi State, followed by two seasons at the University of Arkansas, which was capped off with a College World Series berth in 2018.
Following LSU’s sweep of Kentucky in the Super Regional, Wes Johnson made the trip to Athens, where he addressed the media for the first time in a Bulldogs uniform. When asked about the current state of the Bulldogs lineup, Johnson had nothing but praise, most notably for freshman phenom Charlie Condon. Coach Johnson was quoted saying that Condon, who set the SEC Freshman home run record, “could be the best right-handed hitter in college baseball” next spring.
In terms of recruiting, Johnson welcomes the challenge and looks forward to making the recruiting process one of the strengths of the program. Johnson, who was born in Atlanta, understands the importance of recruiting within the state of Georgia. “I know if you want to be any good, you come to the state of Georgia. They have phenomenal players here, so you develop a lot of relationships with coaches here, again, because they have such good baseball here in the state,” Johnson said. Georgia is currently undergoing a $45 million renovation of Foley Field, and Johnson is confident these renovations “will make Georgia the best place to play ball at this level.”
While there is quite sometime before opening day for the Bulldogs in 2023, the future is only looking brighter. In the meantime, Coach Johnson looks to finish what he started with the LSU Tigers, as his ace, Paul Skenes, takes the mound Saturday against the Tennessee Volunteers in round one of the College World Series.