Wes Johnson becomes Georgia baseball’s first million-dollar man

Georgia baseball coach Wes Johnson has already led the Bulldogs to 17 SEC wins and is looking for a few more at the SEC tournament this week. (Kari Hodges/UGAAA)

Credit: Kari Hodges/UGAAA

Credit: Kari Hodges/UGAAA

Georgia baseball coach Wes Johnson has already led the Bulldogs to 17 SEC wins and is looking for a few more at the SEC tournament this week. (Kari Hodges/UGAAA)

ATHENS — Georgia’s investment in its baseball program now extends to its coach.

Wes Johnson became the Bulldogs’ first head coach outside of football or basketball to make $1 million or more annually in salary last week when he agreed to a contract extension. UGA announced last week it had extended its employment agreement with the first-year coach by one year – guaranteeing his position through June 2030 – but offered no details regarding pay beyond saying Johnson had accepted “an increased compensation package.”

In compliance with an Atlanta Journal-Constitution open-records request for details, the school revealed Monday that Johnson’s new salary will be $1 million. That represents a $300,000 raise over his first year and keeps the contract length at six years.

The deal has been in the works for a while. Georgia went 43-17 this past season and was one game short of advancing to the College World Series in Johnson’s first season. He praised UGA President Jere Morehead and Athletic Director Josh Brooks for giving him everything he needed to succeed before the Bulldogs’ hosted N.C. State in an NCAA Super Regional.

“Their vision not only for the athletic program but this university in general is something I think is special,” Johnson said. “I’ve been a lot of places, and it’s second to none here.”

Johnson also is getting support in the area of facilities. The Bulldogs are well into Phase 2 of a $45 million renovation and expansion project at Foley Field.

As for compensation, Johnson’s new deal likely remains in the bottom half of the conference. Six SEC coaches entered the 2024 season earning $1.5 million or more, including Vanderbilt coach Tim Corbin, LSU’s Jay Johnson, Florida’s Kevin O’Sullivan, Ole Miss’ Mike Bianco and Tennessee’s Tony Vitello, according to a survey done by USA Today. Jim Schlossnagle was making $1.35 million at Texas A&M before being hired away by the new SEC member Texas Longhorns, who promised to at least double his compensation, according to published reports.

UGA declined to turn over a copy of Johnson’s contract on Monday. Citing a provision of Georgia code that applies only to the state’s collegiate athletic associations, it will utilize the full 90 business days the law allows from the date the open-records request was filed to turn over Johnson’s contract for public review. That will be the first week of November.

Typically, UGA coaches’ contracts include incentive clauses that can earn them hundreds of thousands of dollars in bonuses based on competitive success. Smaller bonuses sometimes are available for academic success.

The Bulldogs’ had a banner first year under Johnson, who came to UGA from LSU after a long and distinguished career as a pitching coach in college and MLB. The Bulldogs’ 43 wins was the most ever by a first-year coach and Georgia’s postseason run was its deepest since 2008, when it last made the CWS.