Some Arizona fans will likely never forgive Jay Johnson for skipping out on his team for LSU almost immediately after the 2021 season ended in Omaha. Maybe now they’ll at least understand why.
The former UA baseball coach won a national title on his third try on Monday night, with LSU crushing Florida 18-4 to take the College World Series championship series in three games. The victory came a day after the Tigers lost 24-3 to the Gators to tie the series.
It was LSU’s seventh title and first since 2009, when Johnson was still an assistant coach at San Diego. Johnson led the Tigers to the championship in his second season in Baton Rouge, making the CWS for the third time since 2016.
Johnson took Arizona to Omaha in 2016, his first season with the Wildcats, losing the championship series 2-1 to Coastal Carolina. He got the UA back in 2021, but it lost both games, and within days of elimination Johnson was named LSU’s head coach.
The 2023 LSU team featured two players who were on Arizona’s 2021 roster: pitchers Bryce Collins and Riley Cooper. A third from the UA’s last CWS team, Jacob Berry, also followed Johnson to the Tigers and played one season there before getting taken in the first round of the 2022 MLB Draft.