Coach Johnson joins elite company

A milestone was reached this weekend when Sam Houston State’s Mark Johnson became a member on an elite group.

The Bearkats’ head baseball coach eclipsed the 1000 career-wins mark Sunday after a three-game sweep of conference foe UTSA. Johnson, who coached 21 years at Texas A&M and four years at SHSU, joins just 43 other coaches with 1000 victories as a head coach in NCAA Division I baseball.

Coach Johnson’s record stands at 1000-517-3 in his 25-year coaching career. He is one of 15 active coaches to have passed the 1000 wins mark and is seven victories behind Arizona’s Andy Lopez for 14th in wins for active coaches in NCAA Division I baseball.

“The 1000 wins are a result of me being involved with two good universities that put a lot into baseball,” Coach Johnson said. “There have been great facilities and really good athletes, along with good assistant coaches that have helped me reach the mark. That combination all works towards success.”Johnson came into the 2010 season with 989 career wins, just 11 away from the milestone.

The season began with the Kats facing solid, nationally competitive teams, like TCU and Utah. After a tough outing against these two ball clubs, SHSU found itself at 0-7 and in need of a win.

The Kats got that first win at home against Texas Southern University. Since then, SHSU has played solid ball.

After starting the season 0-7 and being outscored 65 to 28, an average of 9.3-4.7 per game, the Bearkats have turned things around for the season.

SHSU has outscored opponents by 10 runs since the seven-game losing streak and have accumulated an 11-6 record in that span. The Kats are currently on a six-game winning streak and are fourth in the Southland Conference. Coach Johnson confessed how the 1000-win mark snuck up on him as the season advanced.

“It kind of crept up on me,” Johnson said. “I hadn’t really paid attention to it, in all honesty. When I started coaching, I came in with goals like winning championships in the conference, but I never set out to win 1000 games. It’s a stat that really doesn’t show up a lot.”

With 31 games left in the regular season, Coach Johnson will get plenty of opportunities to increase his career wins number, along with fighting for a Southland Conference Tournament spot.

SHSU’s next opponents include Dallas Baptist, Northwestern State, and Houston.

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