DENVER – The Cherry Creek High School baseball team is celebrating its league title win for the season, along with a major milestone for its head coach.
Varsity coach Marc Johnson has been coaching CCHS baseball since 1972. In his 1,000th career game as varsity coach, he also collected his 800th career win.
“It’s not like you’re in a state where you play 25, 50 games per springs so it’s taken a long time and it’s been an incredible blessing for me,” Johnson told FOX31 after the win.
When Johnson began coaching with CCHS, the baseball team was not strong. According to “Coach J”, the 1972 season was the last time they had a losing season.
As head coach, he achieved 100 wins in 1972, 200 wins in 1986, 300 wins in 1992, 400 win in 1998, 500 wins in 2004, 600 wins in 2009 and 700 wins in 2014.
Going into the game against Arapahoe High School on May 13th, 2019, Johnson’s record was 799-200. He says he didn’t want his players to know about the possibility of his 800th win because he didn’t want to put more pressure on them, especially since the League title was also on the line.
“We did know. But he didn’t know that we knew,” senior short stop Brice Martinez told FOX31.
Martinez says the team came out onto the field “with a little extra hunger” because they wanted the win for Coach J.
The game was ruled over in the 5th inning due to the mercy rule. Cherry Creek won 12-2.
“Obviously I’m glad to be there but to be honest with you, I’m happier for them than I am for me,” Johnson said.
The players showered their coach with water before a celebration with cake and a new banner celebrating the accomplishment.
“That’s insane because I’ve probably been around for 30 wins so I can’t even picture 800. That’s just crazy,” Martinez said.
Now CCHS baseball has its sights set on winning a 2019 state title. If the team keeps winning, Coach J could soon break another barrier. The current record for winningest coach in Colorado is former Eaton High School baseball coach Jim Danley, who won 807 games between 1972 and 2015.
“He’ll probably never retire. He’ll probably pass out in the baseball field,” Marc’s brother Randy Johnson told FOX31.
Coach J says he will return next season and doesn’t plan to retire until his players decide it’s time for him to go.
“Hopefully he gets to 900, but you never know. It could be the last time that he hits that hundred mark and we’re just happy to be the team to do that,” Martinez said.