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New coach has Yellow Jackets talking baseball

By MIKE READLING

© St. Petersburg Times, published October 10, 2000


TAMPA -- Blake High filled its baseball coaching vacancy with someone they hoped would create excitement around the program and bring a little knowledge of the game.

So far the choice of Larry Doby Johnson seems to be doing exactly that.

Johnson hasn't stepped on the field yet or even put on a Blake jersey, but already his presence as head coach is creating a stir.

When Johnson, who played for the Cleveland Indians, Montreal Expos and Chicago White Sox in a career spanning from 1972-1978, was introduced as head coach, more than 30 prospective players showed up for the meeting said Frank Oliver, assistant principal at Blake.

That's not bad for a program with a career record below .500.

"I talked to lot of people about him and he has a very good reputation in the community," Oliver said.

Johnson, 50, played professionally for 15 years and followed that up with 10 years of coaching baseball in the Tampa Bay area.

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