by Mike Magers
(Image credit: Albuquerque Journal)
Jim Johns announced his retirement at the end of his team’s 2016 season. He had coached the Albuquerque Eldorado High School baseball program for 29 seasons, accumulating 552 wins and 7 state championships.
Coach Johns had been at Eldorado a total of 37 years, also teaching history at the school. He is a product of New Mexico high schools, having played baseball at Albuquerque Highland under head coach Al Sutton, graduating in 1973. He then attended the University of New Mexico majoring in physical education and minoring in American history. Johns took an Eldorado teaching job soon after graduating from UNM and became an Eldorado assistant baseball coach in 1979.
His teams won the State Championship in 1992, 1993, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2015. Prior to his arrival, Eldorado had won the championship one time before. His teams’ 7 championships pushed the Eagles into a tie for sixth in the all time school championship list. Coach Johns’ Eldorado Eagles record during his tenure is 552-201-4, with the team reaching the quarterfinals in the playoffs his final season. His 552 wins at Eldorado elevated the school to first on the all time school win list with 813, roughly 150 more than the next team. His total wins as a head coach ranks him second on the all time win list, about 30 wins behind Coach John Gutierrez who coached at Navajo Prep and Bloomfield for many years.
Over 100 of his former players have gone on to play baseball in college. Fourteen former players played professional baseball at some level, with two reaching Major League Baseball. A number of his former players and coaches have gone on to careers in coaching.
He was a founding member of the New Mexico High School Coaches Association, NMHSCA. His honors include being named NMHSCA Coach of the Year six times. Coach Johns was also named to the NMHSCA Hall of Honor. He was named American History Teacher of the Year by the Lew Wallace chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution. Coach Johns was named to the New Mexico Sports Hall of Fame in its 2016 class.
Coach Johns is a sought after speaker and has coached many baseball camps and clinics. Upon his retirement, he planned to continue maintaining the Eldrorado baseball field for a while , enjoy spending more time with his family and remain active playing golf and participating in other outdoor activities.