MLB All Stars to Businessmen, Chipola's Johnson Happy for Former Player's Successes

Marianna, FL--- Up at Chipola this weekend, the current Indians celebrated the return of past players for their Alumni Weekend by winning all four of their games.

It should come as no surprise. Winning when it matters most has become part of the program's culture in the last 18 years.

The one time Chipola ballplayers who returned to campus will tell you that's because of the efforts of head coach Jeff Johnson.

Guys like MLB All Stars Jose Bautista and Russell Martin credit Johnson with leaving a huge mark on their lives and serving a deeper meaning. For Coach, it doesn't matter if they're a major leaguer or haven't played since their Marianna days; that's what this job's all about.

"That's the reason that you do it," says Johnson. "You don't make a lot of money in this business, you do it because you want to see people grow and achieve the goals that they've got to achieve."

"Without him pushing us, I would have never pushed myself as hard as he had the ability to," says Martin. "So I'm forever grateful for that because if I wouldn't have had that experience, I might not be where I am right now."

"To me he means a lot. He's a father figure," says Bautista. "When I moved away from home from a different culture, coming into Marianna when I was a young man, he was a role model that I looked up to back then and I still look up to now with positive things that he does."

It doesn't matter whether his player is still in the bigs or has moved on to another career choice, all Johnson wants for his guys is to see them experience success.

"You see these guys who have made it to the big leagues, might have been All Stars and all that, but you also see the guys who are running businesses successfully as well. And you know it makes you proud. Maybe you did something to touch their life, you know?"


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