Skip Johnson – Head Coach – Baseball Coaches
Widely regarded as one of the nation’s top pitching coaches, Skip Johnson has been leading the Oklahoma baseball program since June 2017. Since taking the reign after serving a year as a pitching coach, Sooners, he led the Sooners to a 112-80 four-season record.
Johnson’s influence on the program began immediately and has grown every year. The OU pitching staff have posted a progressively lower ERA in each of their first four seasons at Norman. The Oklahoma team’s 2019 ERA of 3.92 was only the seventh under-4.00 ERA since 1980 and the first since 2015. In its first two seasons, the Sooners pitchers have posted two of the five best strikeouts in program history. A total of 15 pitchers have heard their names spoken in the Major League Baseball Draft in the past four years.
In the shortened 2020 season due to COVID-19, the Sooners compiled a 14-4 record and climbed to 9th in national polls. In the process, OU has achieved historic performance. Dane Acker pitched Oklahoma’s first individual hitting goal scorer since 1989 against No.11 LSU in the Shriners College Classic, and the pitching staff combined for a Big 12-record 21 strikeouts in one. game against Arkansas-Pine Bluff. Cade Cavalli became the OU’s 10th first-round pick in the June Major League Baseball regular draft when he was selected 22nd overall. A program record, four Sooners were drafted in the first four rounds, including all three weekend rotation pitchers (Cavalli, Levi Prater and Acker).
Johnson coached OU until the program’s 38th regional appearance in the NCAA in 2018. The Sooners posted a 38-25 record – the highest winning tally since 2013 – and reached the Tallahassee Regional final. In the process, the Oklahoma pitchers set a school record with 608 strikeouts. Outfielder Steele Walker was named a member of the U.S. second all-star team by Baseball America and the NCBWA, and pitcher Levi Prater was selected as a freshman by the college baseball team. Outfielder Kyler Murray, who won the 2018 Heisman Trophy with the OU football team, was the ninth overall overall in the 2018 MLB Draft. Nine players were drafted, including five in the first 10 rounds ( Walker in the second round, pitcher Jake Irvin in the fourth round, pitcher Austin Hansen in the eighth round and outfielder Cade Harris in the 10th round).
The Oklahoma pitchers surrendered the fewest homers in the Big 12 conference in 2017 and combined for 531 strikeouts to rank fourth in the league and fourth in OU’s single-season history. The Sooners’ 9.26 strikeouts per nine innings placed second in the conference. As a team, OU pitchers have struck out 10 or more batters 24 times.
The earlier pitchers combined 17 starts of six or more innings in 2017, including the Louisville Regional’s first two games. Three Oklahoma pitchers were selected in the 2017 MLB Draft. Earlier, JB Olson was drafted in the 10th round to extend a seven-year streak with an Oklahoma player selected in the first 10 rounds. . OU saw starter Devon Perez and reliever Vincenzo Aiello selected on Day 3 of the draft.
Prior to coming to Oklahoma, Johnson spent a 25-year coaching career in the State of Texas, including the last 10 years as an assistant and associate head coach at the University of Texas.
Johnson was hired as the Texas pitching coach for the 2007 season under the leadership of Augie Garrido, who resigned his post as varsity baseball’s most successful coach in May 2016 to take on a new role in the league. UT athletics department. In 10 seasons, Johnson has helped the Longhorns to seven regional NCAA appearances, four Super Regionals and three College World Series appearances.
During his tenure in Austin, 32 pitchers from Texas were selected in the MLB Draft, including 14 in the first 10 rounds and three first-round picks. Johnson also oversaw the development of six Longhorn pitchers that reached the big leagues. The Texas pitching staff have produced a team-earned run average of less than 3.00 on five occasions and have beaten better than 7.5 by nine innings in five of their past eight seasons. As Texas hit their second CWS with Johnson on the staff in 2011, their pitchers led the Big 12 in ERA (2.35), batting average against (0.198) and strikeouts per nine innings (8 , 28).
Prior to his time in Austin, Johnson was head coach for 13 years at Navarro College of the Texas Eastern Athletic Conference of the NJCAA. From 1994 to 2006, he led the Bulldogs to 13 NJCAA Regional Championships, nine TEAC Championships and four Regional titles while recording 450 wins.
Johnson has mentored a number of players outside of those he coached at OU, UT and Navarro, working regularly with three-time Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Homer Bailey of the Kansas Oakland Athletics and Chris Davis of the Baltimore Orioles, among others.
An outstanding baseball player at Denton High School, Johnson began his varsity career at Ranger (Texas) College. After a two-year career there, Johnson switched to playing baseball at the University of North Texas in 1988 before the school dropped out of its baseball program. He finished his college playing career at UT-Pan American, wrote for the Broncs in 1989, and graduated with his BA in 1990. Johnson received a Masters of Education from UT-Tyler in 1993.
A native of Denton, Texas, Johnson and his wife, Cathy, have two sons, Tyler and Garrett.