Sully Says: Wes Johnson is living the dream
Razorback pitching coach Wes Johnson is a grinder.
The Sherwood native got his coaching start at tiny Abundant Life High School. I would like to say I remember his championship run with the Owls, but I don't. Wes had a great 10 year run as a high school and American Legion coach in Central Arkansas.
Then it was off to college ball where Wes made stops at UCA (two), SAU, Dallas Baptist and Mississippi State - nine seasons of producing record breaking pitchers and pitching staffs.
He grinded for 19 years before landing a job at his dream school. Wes Johnson has always been a Hog fan.
We saw Wes Johnson at his "encouraging" best this week. He turned Monday into "Zay" day. Zay is the Hogs redshirt sophomore pitcher, Isaiah Campbell. Up until Monday night, Zay was best known for being pulled after throwing only 13 pitches in the Hogs' regional final game.
Wes had a "Zay" highlight tape waiting for the Hogs starting pitcher when he arrived at Baum Stadium. The tape featured every Campbell strikeout this season. They made him watch it three times. Johnson said the goal was to remind Campbell just how good he is.
Zay day didn't end there. Johnson had the Hogs other two starters, Blaine Knight and Kacey Murphy, join Campbell for his pre-game bullpen session. He told them to make sure Zay knew when he delivered a good pitch.
Zay day ended with a Isaiah Campbell showing great poise and confidence in a solid 4 inning start.
There was no one more proud of Zay than his pitching coach.
Often, day three of a tourney comes down to pitching. Monday night, South Carolina ran out of pitching and it was ugly. Johnson's staff has proven to be tournament tough.
The Hogs got good pitching at the SEC tourney and in both regionals.
On Monday night, Wes Johnson admitted to having a tear in his eye when Eric Cole secured the World Series clinching catch. For this veteran coach, having success as a Razorback coach just means a little more.