About Derek Johnson
Derek Johnson is the Pitching Coach for the Milwaukee Brewers. Working for the Chicago Cubs for 3 years as the minor-league pitching coordinator since 2013, Johnson also worked 11 years as a coach at Vanderbilt with 3 of those years as Associate Head Coach. Coach Johnson has spent the last 10 seasons as the Commodores pitching coach and is regarded as one of the top teachers in collegiate baseball.
He began coaching at Eastern Illinois in 1994, one year after he was an All Mid-Continent Conference pitcher at the school. In 1995 he was hired by Southern Illinois, where he worked for three years as a pitching coach. He also has had summer stints as manager of the Decatur Blues in the Central Illinois Collegiate League (1994-95) and pitching coach for the Anchorage Glacier Pilots (1996).
Before he came to Vanderbilt, Johnson spent four years as pitching coach at Stetson. During that time his teams won one Atlantic Sun Conference championship (2000) and earned two NCAA Tournament berths (2000 and 2001).
In 2003, Vanderbilt’s Jensen Lewis earned Freshman All-America honors and extended to five the number of consecutive years a player under Johnson’s guidance was so honored. In 2005, David Price joined this group becoming the sixth pitcher to earn the honor under Johnson. Sowers (2002) and Stetson’s Jack Collins (2001), Andy Wilson (2000) and Lenny DiNardo (1999) all likewise were honored. That same year four Commodore pitchers (Lewis, Nick Pilkington, John Scott and Matt Buschmann) combined to pitch the first perfect game in Vanderbilt history and only the eighth in SEC history, a 4-0 victory at Western Kentucky.
Johnson’s efforts earned him the 2004 Collegiate Baseball’s National College Pitching Coach of the Year sponsored by JC Video but were nothing out of the ordinary in what quickly has become a distinguished career, which has included stints in the collegiate and summer league ranks.
Johnson’s 2006 staff led the SEC in strikeouts with 574 in 65 games, an average of nearly nine a game. Also in 2006, nine of his pitchers combined to record a school record scoreless innings streak of 38.2 innings over a span of five games in March.
Johnson’s 2007 crew led the SEC in eight statistical categories including ERA (3.55), strikeouts (632), opponents’ batting average (.238), complete games (7) and runs allowed (266). Vanderbilt hurlers also threw a school record 606.2 innings in 67 games with 13 saves. Six pitchers were drafted in 2007 and signed into the professional ranks, led by No. 1 overall pick David Price (Tampa Bay Rays) and the No. 8 overall pick Casey Weathers (Colorado Rockies).
Vanderbilt’s pitchers led the SEC with six shutouts and six complete games in 2009. The team’s ERA (4.66) ranked fourth best in the league. Junior Mie Minor was selected seventh overall by the Atlanta Braves to become the fourth VU pitcher to be drafted in the first round in Johnson’s tenure. Minor made his major league debut in 2010, making him Johnson’s fourth Commodore hurler to reach the major league level (David Price, Jensen Lewis and Jeremy Sowers).
Johnson’s was named the 2010 ABCA/Baseball America Assistant Coach of the Year. Johnson helped lead Vanderbilt to the school’s first-ever College World Series in 2011 with the pitching staff leading the Southeastern Conference in ERA and strikeouts. The Commodores’ pitching staff was armed with eight players that were selected in the major league baseball draft, including first round picks Sonny Gray and Grayson Garvin bringing Johnson’s total to six Vanderbilt pitchers drafted in the first round.