Georgia hires LSU’s Wes Johnson as new baseball coach

The University of Georgia named LSU pitching coach Wes Johnson as its new baseball coach Monday.

Johnson replaces Scott Stricklin, who was fired last month after 10 seasons in Athens.

“We are extremely excited to welcome Wes Johnson and his family to Athens and the University of Georgia,” athletics director Josh Brooks said in a statement. “Wes has a proven track record of developing student-athletes while helping teams achieve impressive results. We aim to compete for postseason success and championships, and Wes has done that throughout his coaching career at every level, from high school to college and up to the Major Leagues. We are confident he will make Georgia Baseball one of the premier programs in the country.”

Johnson will remain with the Tigers (46-15) until their season is complete. They are the No. 5 NCAA Tournament National Seed and set to play the winner of the Lexington, Ky., regional (Kentucky or Indiana) in a Super Regional starting Friday or Saturday in Baton Rouge. The Tigers are among the top eight national seeds for the first time since 2017.

A native of Sherwood, Ark., Johnson became the first pitching coach in Major League Baseball (MLB) history to make the move directly from the college ranks to the big leagues when he was hired by the Minnesota Twins in November of 2018. He served as a collegiate pitching coach since 2008 with stints in the Southeastern Conference at Mississippi State and Arkansas before joining the Twins. Minnesota was the leading the American League Central Division in June of 2022 when he opted to return to the college game at LSU.

Stricklin was fired after Georgia lost to South Carolina in a one-and-done in the SEC Tournament to finish the season with a 29-27 record, 11-19 in the SEC. He had three years remaining on his contract. His teams posted an overall record of 299-236-1, including 121-146-1 in SEC games. The Bulldogs made three NCAA Tournament appearances, but never advanced beyond the regionals.