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I'm sure with all the high school play off hype that this has been over looked by the faithful. I was wondering, what gives at A&M? If you know of or actually know Coach Johnson, you know that there are few coaches out there that know and teach the game like he does. I have had the good fortune of knowing him, (my dad was a SWC umpire for 18 years), ever since he was an assistant for Tom Chandler and in my opinion there may be no finer human being coaching this sport than he. You can throw in Larry Hayes at Tech as another quality person coaching baseball in Texas. (Played against his Lubbock Christian teams) Both men love and fear the Lord and pass this on to their players so that they not only grow in their baseball skills, but also into fine young men. They love their players as much as their own children.

I think it is a shame that Coach Johnson was fired even though his team struggled this year. In my opinion he was the victim of a new AD wanting to put his mark on the entire athletic department. With this down season, he saw his chance and has gotten rid of a Texas Baseball institution. I'm heart broken that it happened and almost angry at the fact that a good man is removed just because he had a bad season.

Thank you Coach Johnson for your hard work dedication into the great game of baseball and into the lives of so many young men. You will be missed.
"It's not about baseball boys, it's about honoring God." Steve Adair
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As an Aggie, I was absolutely incensed. There were a couple of years recently where everyone picked A&M down around seventh in the Big 12. But Johnson took them into the NCAA tourney. One year they finished only a half game behind Nebraska. The next year they made it to the super regionals. And that was after losing six pitchers and another key player to the draft. Then this year the team loses a lot of close games, peforms less than expected and the ax falls.

I cannot stand "Dollar Bill" Byrne. He did not handle this with class. I think his ego requires that he "fire" someone, rather than letting them leave with dignity. He should apply his standards to himself. But then we would get a new AD.

There will always be those former students who think nothing less than a national championship is acceptable. But only one team can be the champ each year. The odds are against any coach.

Coach Johnson was a class act. He ran a great program with integrity. He is leaving a great legacy. One that will not be matched as easily as Dollar Bill thinks.
Last edited by Texan
There are only so many colleges in the nation that have the funding and the recruiting to win a national championship.

A&M happens to be one of them. They just don't have the ability to get it done.

Why does a small school like Rice compete every year and A&M doesn't?

Granted, there are hundreds of colleges and universities that have baseball programs that have no expectations of winning a national championship.

But as long as Texas is in the hunt year after year, there will be pressure on A&M to win.

Thats a fact.

Plus, my all my inlaws are Aggies.... biglaugh
Last edited by KellerDad
How many baseball coaches won a national championship last year? The year before? Only one each year? Wow.

Does that mean all the other coaches are dogmeat?

Guess so in your book.

There is much more to college athletics than national championships. Woody Hayes won a lot of football games, & some national championships as I recall. I would not have wanted for my son to play for him. Ditto for Bobby Knight in basketball.

But then perhaps you don't understand such things.
I understand such things, and by no means am I calling him a bad coach.

But, the reality of the situation is, large school like A&M require their schools to compete for a national championship. If they don't, the coaches are gone. If coaching changes don't work, then the AD is gone. And in some places, they'll replace the President of the college.

If you don't think so, you are fooling yourself. Heck, in HS baseball, if you don't win in a lot of districts, you will be on the street. It's the nature of the beast.
Moral to the story...

Winning is the only thing that matters.

So don't question a coach when your son ain't playing. Right? He is just trying to win.

And if the coach is crazy but wins, who cares right? Didn't we talk about an example of this this spring?

In the real world, yes you are correct Keller dude...your future is measured by success. What some are trying to point out here is that college athletics should be more than just national championships. Developing respected men/student athletes should be held at a higher standard. Unfortunately that is not the case in major college sports. Where does it stop, well I think it involves the "trickle down" theory. Years ago, head coaches at all levels were respected as leaders along with their win column. Now the win column is the only thing that seems to matter. So, it has "trickled down" into high school athletics and even lower levels. Here lies the problem.

Developement takes a back seat to instant success. So at the end, if a child/young man/player doesn't have success, he or she has nothing to show for what they could have gained from playing athletics.

So many get caught up in the who's who and who did what. This is only visible in papers, box scores, and athletic statistical honors. Dig a little deeper folks. Should we put our stock for our youth in an "all-district" selection. Personally I don't think so. That is why I choose to try and make a difference in the small way I hope to do.

I never got to meet Mark Johnson but I can tell you this. When my minor league days were done I entertained the thought of coaching in college. I sent several letters to major colleges asking for an opportunity for a grad. assistant job. Mark Johnson from A&M was the only one who responded. I did not know him from Adam. He said that if I played for a honorable man like Pat Malcheski (Northwood Univ. coach) that I could work for him anytime.

This is what amatuer athletics is about to me. Involving yourself with good people opens doors to even better people and opportunities. Developing young people so when those people grow up, they can develop more respectable people.


We can just go by the win column.

Amen. I forgot to mention Coach Malcheski. Played against his teams as well in the late 80's and I am a big fan of his too. Very classy guy that you can just tell loves his kids. That little school south of Dallas is a true hidden gem. I would recommend that school to anyone who wanted to play baseball and get a quality education. I love the setting of the field. When we played there, I had to remind myself that we were still in Dallas County.

Yes, winning is very important on the major college level. Just look around and you see the axe falling on people everyday for not doing so. I just hate to see it happen to TOP QAULITY people. With that said, do you think Coach Johnson will show up again somewhere? New Mexico maybe?
applaude applaude applaude
Thank you, Ken!
It is about player development & the impact on a young mans' life that IS most important!
Mark Johnson is one of the greatest, for just these reasons! I'll miss him! I feel the same way about Jim Lawler & Jason Hutchinson.
A&M is definately one of the schools on my son's "short list"!!
It will be interesting to see who "can" fill Johnson's shoes!
Nice job, Ken. You did a more eloquent job of expressing your thoughts (which I share) than I.

Funneldrill, most Ags knew that pressure - from certain quarters - had been on for a while. But it was still a shock.

Dollar Bill wants to build a big resume, then move on to the highest bidder in a new job. He is on a very short view. And has no appreciation for the type of institution and culture that has comprised the heart of A&M for so many years.
don't know much about 05 dad's observations about recruiting, but i would agree with the general observation. coach johnson is a great man who the baseball world passed by some years ago. sad to see that happen, and we can talk all day about how the a.d. handled it, but the sad fact is that coach johnson needed to be replaced by some new blood.
I don't know anything about the AM program but if what 05dad says is true about recruiting shortstops for all positions, then I can see why AM has struggled. My son was a shortstop, was slotted to play 2nd, made into a 3rd baseman and then ended up an outfielder on his high school team and then the other day played 1st for a summer team. He kept moving around because others could not play positions and they were shortstops. He will also tell you he didn't like 3rd or 1st because it's played differently. I can see how recruiting shortstops vs player's who have played that specific position would not produce the best team.
05dad -
I believe you are taking an offhand comment too literally. It does not match with the facts, if you look at his recruting. For instance, I personally know that one of their incoming scholarship outfielders for next year has never played a single day at short. He's a lefty.

If you like size, have you seen their first baseman? Not a small kid. Neither is Hill.

And for not having progressed, what would you call a run all the way to the super-regionals last year?

You might want to check facts a tad more before making such comments.
Last edited by Texan

I have some thoughts on this subject that I will share in the near future. I can speak from experaince, an Aggie Dad of a short stop. I will respond to you on this site, but feel it importent to respond to the Aggie fans regarding the program and my son on his site in the very near future. I believe a lot of you are right and some of you are a little off base. But we are all entitled to our opinion. For all the dads on this site, I want you to think about this before you hear my thoughts. What is the most importent leason you want your son to have learned comming out of college?

Cliff Sr.
Ok, maybe I should use spell check : )

I have some thoughts on this subject that I will share in the near future. I can speak from experience, an Aggie Dad of a short stop. I will respond to you on this site, but feel it important to respond to the Aggie fans of the program and my son on his site in the very near future. I believe a lot of you are right and some of you are a little off base. But we are all entitled to our opinion. For all the dads on this site I want you to think about this before you hear I share my thoughts. What is the most important lesson you want your son to have learned coming out of college?

Cliff Sr.
Found this interesting.

I will apologise to Perfect Game ahead of time for copying this from their site. Jerry if you have a problem with this, I will gladly delete it, You can find this on the Perfect Game website.


Texas A&M shortstop Cliff Pennington has been talked about in 2005 draft terms as high as the #2 pick overall, to the Kansas City Royals. The rumors are that the Royals are considering selecting Pennington as a "budget conscious" pick. The talk is so rampant that Royals scouting director Deric Ladnier sarcastically told Baseball America recently, "I even called Pennington's advisors to ask them what I had agreed to pay the kid."

Such talk is heady stuff for a 5-11, 170 lb shortstop from Corpus Christi, TX, who wasn't even drafted after his senior high school season. But one player whose head it probably wouldn't affect is Pennington, a consummate gamer and baseball rat.

Perfect Game staff member David Rawnsley has a unique perspective on Pennington.

"Before joining Perfect Game a few years ago, I worked in the agent/advisor field," recalls Rawnsley. "One of my clients for the 2002 draft was Pennington. I pretty much knew Cliff wasn't going to get drafted because of a number of different things; his size, being from Corpus Christi, his commitment to A&M, but I knew he would be a high pick out of college and it was an investment of time (note: Pennington is still advised by the company Rawnsley used to work for).

"What made it easy is that Cliff is such a great baseball fan and student of the game in addition to being a great talent. He knew as much about the history of baseball at 17 as anyone I've ever met. There's no doubt I could have asked him who the Hall of Famers were on the 1936 Yankees or who the most important players on the 1957 Milwaukee Braves were and he'd know. The kid just loved baseball and lived it and studied it. You knew if his talent held up and he stayed healthy he would be successful."

Calling Pennington a "budget conscious" pick is something PG knows nothing about, but if you called him a "consistency" pick, which is what a team is generally looking at when they consider "over drafting" a player, Pennington fits the bill. You know exactly what you're getting with Pennington. He hit .340, .339 and .363 in 3 years with the Aggies. He walked 22, 33 and 37 times. He led the team in stolen bases (Pennington led the Cape Cod League last year with 21 steals, too). He only made 12 errors in 2005. In fact, Pennington led Texas A&M in virtually every offensive category in 2005. There's no talk of his playing second base, either. Pennington is a shortstop.

Pennington participated in the 2001 PG National Showcase at Tropicana Field. The PG report after the event looks like a script for the next 4 years (Pennington was an 88-92 mph hurler in HS who A&M toyed with making a closer frequently) and is a good summary of how professional scouts evaluate players such as Pennington.

2001 Perfect Game National Showcase, Tropicana Field (6/01): Pennington is an outstanding 2-way college prospect. We understand that he normally runs a better 60 time than we got him (6.94 on the Tropicana turf) . His arm is fun to watch (88 mph off the mound), he can pitch with anyone as far as stuff and ability. Even a top slider at times! He can hit and he shows power potential. If he were a bigger guy, he would go high in the draft. He should be awesome at the college level.
Last edited by Bighit15
Hey, just to let you guys in on a little something, every college recruits primarily shortstops in the infield and center fielders for the outfield. There are a few exceptions but the reason for this is that in high school, your shortstop and cf are going to be your best athletes. If you can play short, you can play any other position. On topic, it was sad that one bad season loses a good coach his job but thats the nature of the business. He didnt get the shaft as much as Cochell from OU did though. That was a true tragedy. Quality guy there.
South Texas Fan,
Congrats on your son's great season. I was particularly interested in reading your comments because my son is a member of the recruiting class reporting this fall. I was very excited about him learning about both baseball and life from Coaches Johnson and Lawler, but I am very optimistic that the new coach will also be a strong teacher both on and off the baseball diamond.

Good luck to Cliff at the next level.

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