Chris Johnson is entering his first season as the Head Baseball Coach at Piedmont International University.
Education: Coach Johnson earned a Bachelor's of Science in Psychology in 2002 from Southeastern College.
Professional: Chris Johnson has 19 years of experience coaching baseball.
Johnson was with the Guilford College Quakers' baseball program for the last four years. He served as the pitching coach and recruiting coordinator during the 2015-17 seasons and was promoted to the Associate Head Coach for the 2018 season. Johnson has coached at the NCAA, NAIA, NCCAA, and NJCAA collegiate levels, as well as the high school ranks in Florida, North Carolina, and Virginia.
At Guilford, College Johnson helped lead the Quakers to a 22-17 overall record in 2017, the most wins and best overall record since 2006. The 2017 season saw three student-athletes named to the Old Dominion Athletic Conference Baseball team the most selected since 2013. The 2017 & 2018 seasons brought back to back 20 plus win seasons, the 42 combined wins were the most combined wins in 11 seasons. The 2018 Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) Tournament qualifying appearance was the first since 2012. The 2018 season saw a win versus a 2018 NCAA DIII Top 10 Nationally ranked program in the D3baseball.com poll #9 Roanoke College who was 2017 defending ODAC Tournament Champion and College World Series participant. Johnson helped mentor Mitchell Stumpo (RHP) Guilford College’s first (CPL) Coastal Plain League All-Star selection (2018) for the Gastonia Grizzlies.
Before returning to Guilford, Johnson coached from 2010-14 at Rockingham Community College (NJCAA) in Wentworth, North Carolina, where he served two years as Director of Student Life and Athletic Director and two seasons as Head Baseball Coach and Assistant Athletic Director.
Johnson turned RCC’s baseball program around after inheriting a 10-31 program in 2010 with only seven players on the fall roster when he took over in mid-August. In his first season, 2011 with a roster of 18 players the team finished 15-27 with a win over Southeastern Community College NJCAA Region 10 Champions and College World Series Participant. Armed with a healthy recruiting class, the Eagles posted a 24-24 record in 2012 and made a nine-win improvement in NJCAA Division II Region 10 play from the preceding year. In addition to enhancing the school’s baseball facility and upgrading the team’s competitiveness, he helped 11 students graduate to four-year institutions, including four who received baseball scholarships. Seven Eagles earned RCC academic honors, including Zac Royals, who was the baseball team’s first recipient of the National Junior College Athletic Association’s Exemplary Academic Achievement Award winner. Johnson signed 19 students to National Letters of Intent among his 23-man recruiting class in 2011, including University of South Carolina transfer DeSean Anderson, who was drafted by the Boston Red Sox out of high school.
As RCC's Athletic Director, Johnson oversaw the operation of the school's four-team athletics department, including compliance, scheduling, personnel and event management. The baseball team tied a school-record winning 26 games at the Division II level and the Eagles' volleyball squad won a school-record 16 games and a conference title, the first by any RCC women's team. Johnson led RCC's transition from an NJCAA Division II institution to NJCAA Division III which resulted in the school’s first Baseball Region 10 Tournament Championship the following year. He also served as an associate scout to Toronto Blue Jays area scout John Hendricks.
Johnson started his college coaching career in 2001 as a volunteer assistant coaching outfielders for his alma mater, Southeastern College in Lakeland, Florida. He spent the 2004 and 2005 seasons as the pitching coach and recruiting assistant at Wilkes (N.C.) Community College. Under Johnson’s direction, the pitching staff had a 16-win improvement and shaved nearly three runs off of the team's earned run average. That season also saw Wilkes CC win its first in school history NJCAA Region 10 Division 1 Tournament game. Johnson's recruiting class at Wilkes featured 18 student-athletes, including future North Carolina A&T State University infielder Nick Mayo and Andrew Morton, who later starred at Belmont Abbey College before signing a free-agent contract with the San Diego Padres.
In Johnson's first stint with Guilford College 2007-2008, his recruiting efforts landed a number of key performers, including Kyle Wooden who led all NCAA Divisions and set a school record with a .514 batting average, 2 time 2nd Team All American honors and ODAC Player of the Year Award. 2008 Old Dominion Athletic Conference home run champion Brad Buchman and Ryan Hairston Top 10 in 6 2008 ODAC pitching statistics: 7 Complete Games (1st), 12 Games Started (2nd), 76.0 Innings Pitched (3rd), 6 Wins (4th), 16 Appearances (6th), and 56 Strikeouts (6th).
In 2010 Johnson served Montreat College’s pitching coach.
Johnson has also coached in the high school ranks, including one season at Monacan High School in Richmond, Virginia. Monacan doubled its win total in Johnson's tenure, while allowing 62 fewer runs against than the previous season and had two students garner all-district recognition. The 2009 season saw a season sweep of rival Midlothian High School for the first time in 10 seasons, as well as wins over state-ranked squads from Cosby High School and James River High School. While there, he served as a staff instructor at the Richmond Baseball Academy South.
In 2006 Johnson was the top assistant coach at North Forsyth High School in Winston-Salem, North Carolina for head coach Jamie Lowe. The nationally ranked Vikings went 30-2, won the Metro Conference championship, and reached the 4A state semifinals. He helped develop NCAA Division I standouts and future Major League Baseball (MLB) draft picks Dustin Ackley (UNC & Seattle Mariners), Wes Hobson (Appalachian State & San Francisco Giants) and Addison Johnson (Clemson & Oakland Athletics).
Johnson was the top assistant for coach Mike Ferguson (former Miami Hurricanes assistant coach) Bartow (Fla.) High School team that won a district title, a regional championship, and played for the 2002 Florida 3A State Championship before falling to Jacksonville Bolles in the state final 2-1 finishing State Runner Up with a 24-11 record. The team produced MLB draft pick (Tarrance Patterson Minnesota Twins).
In the summer of 2010, Johnson served as the pitching coach for Statesville Owls of the Southern Collegiate Baseball League. As the Owls' pitching coach, he had three hurlers picked for the league's all-star game, including former Guilford College pitcher Sammy Stuart '11.
2001: Southeastern College - Volunteer Assistant/Outfielders
2002: Bartow HS, FL – Assistant Coach/ Outfielders
2003: Parkland HS, NC – Assistant Coach/ Hitters & Outfielders
2004-2005: Wilkes Community College – Volunteer Pitching Coach & Recruiting
2006: North Forsyth HS, NC – Assistant Coach/ Pitching Coach
2006: (Summer) Winston-Salem Jr. American Legion – Head Coach
2007-2008: Guilford College – Part-time Pitching Coach & Recruiting
2009: Monacan HS, VA – Head Coach
2010: Montreat College – Pitching Coach & Recruiting
2010: (Summer) Statesville Owls (SCBL) – Pitching Coach
2011-2012: Rockingham Community College – Head Coach
2013-2014: Rockingham Community College – Athletic Director
2015-2017: Guilford College – Pitching Coach & Recruiting Coordinator
2018: Guilford College – Associate Head Coach
Present: Piedmont International University – Head Coach
Collegiate: Johnson played at Lenoir (N.C.) Community College (NJCAA) under head coach Pete Barnes before finishing his college baseball career at Southeastern College (NCCAA) under head coach Scott Laing. He also played on the school’s basketball team one season and graduated with a BS Degree in Psychology with a minor in Biblical Studies. Johnson played baseball in high school at Huguenot Academy in Powhatan, Virginia under head coach Gary Brock and was a Virginia Commonwealth Conference 1st Team selection his senior year at Shortstop. Johnson was a two time Virginia Commonwealth Conference 1st Team selection and Richmond Times-Dispatch Newspaper All-Metro Team Honorable Mention selection in basketball for head coach Kevin Profit and assistant coach Chuck Thomas (Current Men’s Assistant Basketball Coach Hampden Sydney College).
Personal: Johnson resides in Clemmons, North Carolina, with his wife, Rachel, and son, Landon. Johnson’s late father, Larry Johnson was signed by the Pittsburgh Pirates legendary Scout Syd Thrift after a standout career at Manchester High School in Richmond, Virginia. He went on to played eight professional baseball seasons with minor-league affiliates of the Pittsburgh Pirates, Baltimore Orioles, and Milwaukee Brewers.
References: “You will find no throwing coach with more research, knowledge, or ability to communicate to your young thrower than Chris Johnson. Any young thrower who wants his best chance to be healthy and successful for a long career needs to work with Coach Johnson.”
John Hendricks - Wake Forest University Pitching Coach/ Former National Pitching Supervisor New York Mets
“Personally he helped me transition from playing as a utility infielder my entire career, to leading our team as an outfielder, and finally to the mound for my senior season. He taught me lessons that I still carry with me today. For example, he taught me the importance of approaching each day with professionalism and maintaining a constant approach to everything I did. In essence, never get too high or too low. In addition, he insured we enjoyed each moment we were at the baseball field, making my college years an experience I’ll cherish for the rest of my life.”
Logan Jones – Minor League Strength & Conditioning Coach Arizona Diamondbacks
Guilford College Class 2017
“Throughout our nearly 10-year relationship, I have developed a great appreciation for many of Chris’s strengths, which include a tremendous passion for the higher education setting, complemented by a keen ability to coach, instruct and advise; a unique gift to develop students not only on the field, but also personally; and superior relational skills that enhance his capacity to supervise, manage, mentor, and coach. In my time with Chris, he continuously demonstrated his passion for athletics and academia by an unparalleled commitment of time and energy to his positions as Head Coach, Assistant Athletic Director, and ultimately Athletic Director.”
Dean Myrick - Commissioner, Alabama Community College Conference, Inc.
NJCAA Senior Men’s Administrator