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Chipola's Jeff Johnson talks Florida State, interest in head coaching job

Posted at 9:19 PM, Jun 06, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-07 15:01:48-04

MARIANNA, Fl. (WTXL) - It's not easy to create a dynasty in junior college baseball.

"They were saying down in Lakeland the other day (at the State Tournament) that we're the first team since 1961 to win three straight in the state of Florida," said longtime head coach Jeff Johnson. "Back then there was only 6 or 8 baseball playing schools. It was a great accomplishment for these guys and we only have four guys returning from last year."

That's what makes what Johnson has done even more special, and it's what has him in the mix for the head coaching spot at Florida State.

"If something happens over there where they'd give me an opportunity to do that, I think we could do very well over there," he said. Johnson has won three National Championships at Chipola and six State Championships, including the last three. He's also win 13 Conference Championships. "I think it's one of the top ten jobs in the country."

Florida State is a top ten job with a legacy of their own. The Seminoles have 42 straight postseason appearances. 1977 was the last time this program didn't tally at least 40 wins. They have 22 appearances at the College World Series, and finished Runner-up three times, and Johnson feels what he's done in Marianna will translate in Tallahassee.

"It's about motivating players. It's about getting players to buy in and trust one another and play together," he said. "The X's and O's are important as well. The recruiting part is important as well. I'm very confident in my abilities to coach and motivate players and get people to play well together and create a program and an environment that would be conducive to winning."

The jump from Junior College to Division I isn't easy, but not impossible. Wayne Graham won five JUCO National titles and a College World Series Crown with Rice, but Johnson knows the doubters are there.

Jeff: "When you have that JUCO tag in front of you, it sometimes doesn't do you any good," he said. "It's a stigma sometimes for Division I people when they hear that. It upsets you as a coach when you hear that becuase I feel like if you can coach whether it's in high school, a junior college, or a college coach, if you can coach you can coach. Just proud of what we've able to do here. That's the only thing I can go buy, it's what we've done where and it's what we'll continue to do here as long as I'm here."

As long as he's in Marianna, which may not be much longer. Florida State has said no head coach will be named until after this season is over.