April 20, 2011
OVERLAND PARK, Kan. – Senior RHP Cole Johnson (Hudson, Ohio) is one of 10 Division I college baseball players to be selected as a finalist for the 2011 Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award. The award honors student athletes who excel both on and off the diamond and has notable achievements in four areas of excellence – community, classroom, character and competition.
An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School, the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities.
Joining Johnson on the list of baseball finalists are: P Chris Dennis (Portland), CF Brandon Eckerle (Michigan State), C Clint Ewing (Louisiana Tech), P Cole Green (Texas), FB/DH Frazier Hall (Southern), 1B Paul Hoilman (East Tennessee State), OF Chris Slater (Baylor), OF Cory Tilton (UNC Charlotte) and P Tyler Wilson (Virginia).
The finalists were chosen by a media committee from the list of 30 candidates that were announced in February. Nationwide fan voting begins immediately to determine the winner. Fans are encouraged to vote via Lowe’s Senior CLASS award website (www.seniorCLASSaward.com) or on the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award Facebook fan page through June 5. Fan votes will be combined with media and coaches’ votes to determine the winner.
Lowe’s, an official Corporate Partner of the NCAA, will announce the winner June 24 at the NCAA College World SeriesÂ® in Omaha.
Johnson owns a 3.680 grade point average in the College of Science as a double major in pre-professional studies and Spanish language and literature. He completed the fall 2010 semester of 12 credit hours with a 3.750 GPA, which marked the second time in his career he was selected for Dean’s List. Johnson recently took the MCAT and placed in the 93rd percentile. He was one of 40 Notre Dame student-athletes in the University’s honors program. He has also been named a BIG EAST Conference Academic All-Star each of the last three years.
Johnson, a co-captain in 2009, has the rare accomplishment of being named a captain as a pitcher and not an everyday position player. Over the last 32 seasons, Johnson is only the ninth pitcher to earn captain status. The others include Craig Allen (’96), Alex Shilliday (’99), Aaron Heilman (’00, ’01), J.P. Gagne (’03), Chris Niesel (’04), Tyler Jones (’05), Tom Thorton (’06) and Brian Dupra (’10).
Johnson was one of 12 Irish student-athletes invited to join a faculty-mentoring program based on leadership, academic performance and athletic accomplishments. Johnson was selected from over 900 Notre Dame athletes, and the only sophomore inducted in 2009.
Johnson was selected for the Notre Dame Rosenthal Leadership Academy, which is a special four-month program of seminars and workshops to develop leadership strategies, initiatives and skills.
Johnson has been involved with the Notre Dame team and its community service efforts in all four of his years with the Irish program. He and the rest of his baseball teammates recently adopted five-year old Brady Burkhart, who was recently diagnosed with Leukemia, as part of Fighting Irish Fight For Life. Johnson was involved with Habitat for Humanity, Center for the Homeless, Memorial Hospital Pediatric Cancer Center and other works in the local community. He participated in the Life Works “Dream Team” program at McKinley Primary School. It was a five-week program where he spent an hour a week teaching students about setting goals and overcoming obstacles. Johnson also participated in a mentoring program at Edison Intermediate School. He would spend an hour a week reading to the class. Johnson has been involved with the Secret Santa, Santa for Seniors, Santa’s Helpers and Food/Toy Drive programs during the holiday season.
Johnson also volunteered, independently from the team’s programs, weekly at La Casa de Amistad, a local South Bend Hispanic community center. He participated in varied programs in an effort to edify Hispanic youth and adults in development of leadership skills, increase knowledge and appreciation of their own culture, and develop stronger self-esteem, encouraging fuller participation as community members. Johnson participated in numerous youth camps in the Cape Cod area over the last couple years and even co-directed a youth sports camp in his hometown of Hudson, Ohio.
In 2011, Johnson carries a 2.69 ERA into this weekend’s series against St. John’s, which ranks eighth-best in the BIG EAST. Despite quality starts in eight of his nine outings, Johnson owns just a 3-5 record. The righty has been handcuffed by minimal run support. Notre Dame has scored a grand total of 17 runs over Johnson’s last eight starts. In fact, three of those runs did not cross the plate until after he left the contest at Pittsburgh on April 2 and versus Connecticut on April 10. The Irish have scored one run or less in three of his nine starts.
Johnson has tossed at least 7.0 innings in five of his last eight starts and ranks among the leaders in the following BIG EAST pitching categories:
Category Total (BIG EAST Rank)Strikeouts Looking 18 (t-4th)Opp. Batting Avg. .214 (5th)Home Runs Allowed 1 (t-5th)Strikeouts 50 (7th)Innings Pitched 60.1 (7th)ERA 2.69 (8th)Walks Allowed 14 (t-10th)Earned Runs Allowed 11 (t-11th)
Johnson has been the No. 1 or No. 2 starting pitcher for the Irish each of the last three years. He has made 46 career appearances in a Notre Dame uniform, including 30 starts. Johnson owns a 15-13 record with 161 strikeouts and 69 walks in 222.0 innings over his career. — ND —