Veteran Texas pitching coach Skip Johnson has accepted a similar job with the Oklahoma Sooners, he told the American-Statesman Monday morning.
“I just accepted it,” Johnson said. “I start tomorrow.”
Johnson, who has coached nine seasons at Texas, three of them as associate head coach, sounded heart-broken over having to accept another job and leave Austin. He had applied for the vacant head coaching job and met with athletic director Mike Perrin and his associate, Arthur Johnson, on Monday morning.
“I’m just so grateful to DeLoss Dodds, Augie Garrido, Bill Powers and Mike Perrin for allowing me to coach here,” Johnson said. “I want to thank them for the opportunity they gave me to coach here. But this is like burying my dad.”
Johnson, whose best friend is Texas Tech head coach Tim Tadlock, said he would remain at Texas if the Longhorns were to hire him out of Lubbock. However, Tadlock’s contract includes a non-compete clause that prohibits him from taking another job in the Big 12.
One source familiar with Texas’ search for a successor to Garrido — which has entered its 28th day — said the school “doesn’t want another Joe Wickline.” That refers to the contentious hiring of the Oklahoma State offensive line coach, who was hired at Texas and given the title of offensive coordinator even though he never called plays for the Longhorns.
Asked if his move to Norman was based on the assumption Tadlock would not be coming to Texas, Johnson said, “Yep. But nothing’s ever definite.”
In Johnson’s nine seasons mentoring UT pitchers, the Longhorns have finished the year ranked in the top-10 nationally in ERA six times, leading the Big 12 in five of those instances. From 2009 to 2011, Texas finished second, first, and second, respectively, nationally in ERA.
In the last seven years, Texas has maintained a staff ERA under 3.00 five times, finishing with a 2.95 in 2009, 2.45 in 2010, 2.35 in 2011, 2.63 in 2013 and 2.25 in 2014. The Longhorns led the league in opponent batting average four of those seasons, holding opposing teams to a .227 average in ’09, .219 in ’10, .198 in ‘11 and .226 in ’13.
Johnson has coached 14 Longhorns that have earned a total of 21 All-Big 12 selections, including 10 to the first team. Seven of Johnson’s players have earned a total of nine All-America honors, with five to the first team. In 2010, UT had three first team All-Americans in Cole Green, Taylor Jungmann and Chance Ruffin, and a second team All-American in Brandon Workman. A year later, Jungmann repeated as a first-team choice, while Corey Knebel joined him.
Those pitchers’ success hasn’t ended at UT. Since 2007, the Longhorns have seen 26 pitchers selected in the MLB Draft, including three first-round selections and seven in the first five rounds. Workman, one of Johnson’s pupils, helped the Boston Red Sox capture the World Series Championship in 2013, his rookie season.
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