John Ihlenburg (center), who officially took over as Reinhardt University’s head baseball coach on July 1, has announced two members of his inaugural coaching staff. Brett Johnston (right), who served as a volunteer on the staff last year, was elevated to the full-time assistant coach position while former Eagles standout Jarrod Willis (left) is back as a part-time assistant coach.
Before coming to Reinhardt, Johnston worked in the residential development business for 13 years. He was a part of Kennesaw State University’s 1996 NCAA Division II national championship team after attending the University of West Georgia, another Division II member. Johnston, a switch-hitter, started for two seasons at catcher for Andrew College, a two-year institution, and served as a team captain in 1995. He was a four-time letter winner at McEachern High School and played in the prestigious East Cobb Baseball program, including two seasons on teams coached by Ihlenburg. Johnston is originally from Powder Springs, Ga., but now makes his home in Woodstock with his wife Amy and their four children: Taylor, Bruin, Naylee and Samantha.
“I am excited to have Brett on board as my top assistant,” Ihlenburg said. “He is a mature and talented individual who is tireless in his duties. He is an excellent complement to our staff. He will be taking over as our recruiting coordinator and manage most of our game scheduling needs, as well. He is also responsible for the daily scheduling of our players and their compliance. Brett will be in charge of the catchers and the routine daily needs of our pitching staff.”
Willis returns for his second campaign as a part-time assistant coach. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from Reinhardt in May 2010 after a solid four-year playing career as an outfielder for the Eagles. From 2006-09, Willis played in 196 games with 172 starts. He holds Reinhardt’s all-time record for runs scored (181) and ranks among the program’s career leaders in several other offensive statistical categories. In 2008 when he was a First Team All-Southern States Athletic Conference and NAIA All-Region XIII selection, Willis set single-season school records for batting average (.408), hits (80), runs scored (74), total bases (137), slugging percentage (.699) and on-base percentage (.526). He was also chosen to the SSAC’s Gold Glove Team as a junior. Willis is a Villa Rica, Ga., native and graduate of Chapel Hill High School. He now resides in Canton, Ga.
“I am also pleased to have Jarrod back with us again and he will expand his role with us this year, taking on more responsibility in the daily activities of the team,” Ihlenburg said. “He has helped redesign our strength program and is responsible for executing it on a regular basis throughout the fall and spring. He is directly responsible for our outfielders.”
Ihlenburg is the second head coach in the history of the Eagles’ baseball program, which played its first game in 2005. Reinhardt opens its 2012 season in February.
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