Five-game intra-squad series begins this coming Saturday morning
Villanova opens the season this week with a three-game series at Arkansas
Head coach Joe Godri and his staff addressed every position on the field with versatile group
Rod Johnson is in his 12th season at Villanova and his sixth year as Joe Godri's senior assistant coach. Johnson works with the team's defense and is also the third base coach.
Villanova has developed into one of the top defensive teams in the BIG EAST Conference under Johnson's tutelage. During the 2012 season the Wildcats had a .968 fielding percentage while committing zero or one errors 35 times. In addition Villanova had eight position players with a fielding percentage of .975 or higher and the team recorded a fielding percentage of .960 or better for the eighth time in nine years.
In 2010 season the Wildcats had their best defense during Johnson's tenure with the program. Villanova finished the year with a .975 fielding percentage, marking the second straight year with a mark of .970 or better. In 52 games during the 2010 season Villanova committed zero or one errors on 40 occasions, turned 58 double plays and finished second in the BIG EAST Conference in fielding percentage.
The defensive success for the Wildcats in 2009 and 2010 was particularly impressive given the fact that Villanova has fielded two of its youngest teams in recent memory. The mindset of playing strong defense day in and day out has been passed on by the upperclassmen, as the current run of success started late in the 2008 campaign. That year, Villanova went 7-3 in its last 10 regular season games to qualify for the BIG EAST Championship for a second straight year.
Johnson is well known in the Philadelphia baseball community and has been inducted into several local sports halls of fame. In addition to his collegiate coaching career at Villanova, Johnson spent several years coaching American Legion baseball in the area. He served as the head coach of the Paoli American Legion squad from 1996 until 2005. Johnson's first Paoli team competed for a league championship in 1996 and went on to win a league and playoff championship in 1999, when it finished with a 37-7 record, and also advanced to national postseason play in 2005. Johnson also coached the Spring-City American Legion team from 1983-1992 and accumulated 225 victories to go along with two regional championships.
Over the years, Johnson has received numerous awards for his coaching career and work in the community. He was the recipient of the Tri-County Old Timers Ambucs Award for meritorious service to the sports community and in 1999 was presented with the House of Representatives Award for Community Service.
Johnson is a former All-American infielder at Temple who helped lead the Owls to the College World Series as a sophomore in 1977. Playing for legendary collegiate coach Skip Wilson, Johnson batted .399 in his collegiate career. In 1978, he was named a second team All-American, AACBC first team All-East selection as well as the ECC Player of the Year.
Following his senior year at Temple, Johnson was a draft pick of the Cincinnati Reds in 1979 and was named the organization's Minor League Rookie of the Year that same season. He played in the Reds system from 1979-82.