MARIANNA, FL (WJHG/WECP) It's no understatement to say these are busy days for Chipola head baseball coach and A.D. Jeff Johnson.
Chipola A.D. and head baseball coach Jeff Johnson
We talked Wednesday about a variety of subjects, including the potential strain on athletic budgets for Juco programs across our area and the state in the wake of the pandemic's economic effects.
Coach Johnson has certainly looked at the prospect of financial hits to different programs, and he knows there's reason for concern.
"Well I think that it possibly could, and I think that's an institution by institution situation as well." Coach Johnson told me. "You know I don't know if it will be this year as much as next year. You know our monies, a lot of that was probably already funded for this time. But it may be next year where we maybe see more. But I think everybody's gonna have to tighten up to a certain point. I think those are still out there. I don't think our budgets have been signed off on just yet. So I don't think our presidents know exactly where we're gonna be with this right now. I think everybody is going to be very conscIous of their spending and what they're gonna do right now."
As for his role as head baseball coach, well Johnson's working in that capacity these days trying to line up places for his guys to play. Not an easy feat given the ongoing pandemic and the sports landscape right now.
"I have reached out to some of our guys here in the last week or so, we've been getting a lot of calls." Jeff says. "The Cape (Cod League) is shut down for the year. I think the Valley League is shut down for the year, but there's some leagues like up in Montgomery, the Florida collegiate league and some other travel ball organizations that are trying to put things together. So I'm trying to get our guys in there, as long as it's a safe place to play, and all the things that we really don't know right now come in to play. But we are trying to do things to get our guys at bats. I don't worry about the pitchers as much as I do the hitters, but get the hitters at bats in the live game experience."
Coach Johnson has another pressing concern at the moment, he's now charged with starting the process of hiring a new men's head basketball coach. Thursday coach Brendan Foley stepped down to take an assistant coaching gig on the D1 level.
This will be third hire coach Johnson's made since taking over as A.D. five years ago, all three have been in men's hoops. Jeff says the official process will get started Tuesday though he's already getting calls and emails from interested candidates.