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Arizona baseball coach Jay Johnson a finalist for LSU job, per report

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Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

It’s hard to imagine Jay Johnson leaving Arizona for any job not on this half of the country, considering his West Coast roots, but the smoke that started rising out of Baton Rouge has gotten thicker.

Glenn Guilbeau of the Lafayette (La.) Daily Advertiser is reporting that Johnson interviewed for the LSU job on Tuesday and is one of three finalists for the top open college baseball position in the country.

Johnson, 44, is coming off leading the UA to its second College World Series in six seasons at the school. The Wildcats were eliminated Monday, going 0-2 at the CWS for the first time since 1985.

The other two finalists to replace the retired Paul Manieri are East Carolina’s Cliff Godwin and Notre Dame’s Link Jarrett, both of whom led their teams to the Super Regionals.

Johnson, who led Arizona to its first outright conference title since 1992, is under contract through the 2023 season. Arizona athletic director Dave Heeke said Saturday, before the UA’s CWS opener, that any discussions about a contact extension would happen after the season ended.

If Johnson were to leave Arizona it would mean the school would end up making coaching changes in football, men’s basketball, soccer, softball, cross country and baseball since December.

If Johnson stays at Arizona, he might have to replace his pitching coach. Kendall Rogers of D1Baseball.com is confident that Texas A&M will be hiring Nate Yeskie as its new pitching coach.