Overtime

Coach floored by response after 800th win

Column by Jim Benton
Posted 5/21/19

Cherry Creek baseball coach Marc Johnson has had an impact on many of his players and he learned recently of the power of social media. Johnson’s baseball team beat Arapahoe 12-2 on May 13 to give …

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Overtime

Coach floored by response after 800th win

Posted

Cherry Creek baseball coach Marc Johnson has had an impact on many of his players and he learned recently of the power of social media.

Johnson’s baseball team beat Arapahoe 12-2 on May 13 to give the 74-year-old coach his 800th career victory in his 47th season as the Bruins’ head baseball coach.

“My phone has been bombarded with phone calls and text messages from players from the past,” said Johnson. “I got a cool one from Josh Bard, the bench coach for the Yankees, and I got a one from Darnell McDonald who is an Arizona League coach with the Cubs, and from lots of guys who played with me in the past.”

Johnson, who also coached the Creek boys soccer for 28 years and guided the Bruins to five state title and three runner-up finishes, took an 800-200 record into the regional playoffs on May 18.

Cherry Creek has won or shared 32 league baseball championships, won eight state crowns and been in the state title game 13 times. Creek’s only losing season under Johnson’s tutelage was in 1972, his first year as coach.

“I know I’m not really up on social media and I was just floored that it got out everywhere so fast,” he said of the news about the 800-win milestone. “I got congratulatory calls from France, Italy and Afghanistan. I got a call from a former student who lives in Paris, Bobby Corso who played for me and he’s in Afghanistan, and my son happened to be in Italy on a trip. I got calls from two or three college coaches that I’ve been close to over the years.

“I had a coach that just won the state championship in Utah and he texted me, and he said something like, `It would take me 110 years to get that many wins.’”

Johnson’s 800 wins are second to former Eaton coach Jim Danley who recorded 807 victories and is the winningest baseball high school coach in Colorado. Johnson, Danley and Denver Christian basketball coach Dick Katte are the only coaches with over 800 wins at the same school.

“On a personal basis I’m very proud of it (800 wins) and very proud of the consistency,” added Johnson. “A lot of the recognition goes to the kids that played here, their parents, the coaching staff and even the girls that managed. I am more proud of what the kids that played here have went on to do. It’s a chance to make an impact on kids. This is a personal thing and I’m proud of it, but I want the kids to get the best out of the experience as they possibly can.”

Johnson points to a few wins as being most memorable.

“Obviously all of the state title wins stand out,” he said. “In ‘95 and ‘96 when my son played (Tyler), that was a big thing on a personal basis that I will never forget — 1995 and 96 started a five-year run where we won state championships.

“Those teams were so loaded it was unbelievable. In ‘98 and ‘99 we didn’t have near that talent, they were just so used to winning that everybody expected it. That was special because it made you feel like you really coached.”

Johnson wants to coach at least a couple more seasons.

“One of the things Josh Bard said to me, which was a real nice compliment, and he said, `Thank you for investing in my life.’ I told him that means the world to me. You have a chance to impact. I’ve always said when I feel that I can’t relate and I’m not enjoying it, then that’s the time to quit.

“Eight hundred wins really means two things. It means I’m old and also means I’ve weathered the storms and coached for 47 years at the same school which is pretty rare. When I go to national conventions, people always bring that up, they say: `At the same school?’”

Rubley at Ranch

T.J. Rubley has been appointed the interim football coach for the 2019 season at Highlands Ranch.

He has been the Falcons’ offensive coordinator for the past two seasons, where his son, junior-to-be Jake Rubley, has been the quarterback.

T.J. Rubley — who saw action in 10 games during a five-season career as an NFL quarterback in the 1990s — hopes to bring some stability to the program that has had four head coaches in the past three seasons.

Mark Robinson started the 2017 season as head coach but resigned before the first game following an incident during a routine drug sweep. He was replaced by interim David May. John Trahan was hired and was the coach last season but Trahan is under investigation for fraud allegations and is on leave. Rubley was asked to take over the program.

“I am not sure what `interim’ means in this situation, but I love working with our kids and watching them work their tails off,” said Rubley, who was the quarterbacks coach at Mountain Vista where his older sons Ryan and Brock played for the Golden Eagles. “They have been awesome through some of the happenings and continue to get better. I am really excited to continue to help them on their journeys.”

Hall of Famer

Colorado High School Activities Association Commissioner Rhonda Blanford-Green will be inducted into the University of Nebraska Hall of Fame on Aug. 30.

Blanford-Green, a 1981 Aurora Central graduate, was an 18-time Big Eight track champion and eight-time All-American while competing for the Huskers from 1982 to 1985. She was an executive director of the Nebraska School Activities Association for three years.

Jim Benton is a sports writer for Colorado Community Media. He has been covering sports in the Denver area since 1968. He can be reached at jbenton@coloradocommunitymedia.com or at 303-566-4083.

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