Liberty’s Isom Reflects Back On His Career

Liberty’s Isom Reflects Back On His Career

Liberty’s Isom Reflects Back On His Career

by Steve Gamel

The Liberty Christian baseball team and its faithful fans are undoubtedly still basking in the glory of the Warriors winning their second straight TAPPS Division I state championship in May. While there are great memories to soak in from that win, the ones head coach Johnny Isom cherishes the most were from those last two innings.

Most people aren’t aware that it was during those last two innings that Isom, who already planned to step down at season’s end to take over as the school’s athletic director, was restricted to the dugout by the umpires after an assistant coach was ejected from the game. That meant Isom couldn’t coach third base or interact with his players on the field. Rather than take that situation negatively, Isom saw the game from a different perspective.

“In the process of all of that, I was able to see the program moving on without me. It was something I wouldn’t have been able to soak in if I were still coaching third base because you’re just too involved in the game,” Isom said. “That last two innings was God saying, ‘I’m closing this door for you and opening up this AD door, and I want you to go after it.’”

Isom added, “It gave me peace. I knew the baseball program was going to be fine. It would all be Ok.”

Obviously, the Warriors beat Houston St. Thomas 8-5 in that game to send their old ball coach out the right way. In his nearly two decades at the school, Isom had been the baseball coach since 2005 and capped his stellar coaching career having won four state titles in 2009, 2013, 2018, and 2019.

“I never want to take credit for anything, but I really feel like these seniors really wanted to send me off right.”

While he will miss being in the dugout with his players and fellow coaches, Isom, who before coming to Liberty was a minor league baseball player with the Baltimore Orioles, said he has put his baseball life behind him and already moved on to hopefully be what he called, “the best AD I can be.” Isom was the baseball coach and associate athletic director with head football coach Steven Greek prior to being announced as the new AD on March 20. He was seen as the perfect person to replace former athletic director Zack Vest and assumes control of an athletic program that, beyond baseball, is seen as one of the more successful private school programs in the state.

The Liberty athletic program has won numerous private-school state championships over the years, including in football, girls basketball, boys and girls track, boys tennis, girls soccer, wrestling, and cheerleading.

Isom said it’s an opportunity he doesn’t take lightly.

“I’m looking at it as instead of losing a sport, I’m taking on all the sports,” Isom said. “And I’m going to take on this role like I did in baseball. I’m going to be all-in. I want to be there for all my coaches and athletes, be visible, and have a different relationship than I’m used to having with all of them. The bottom line is, if you’re doing it right, then you’re around. I just want to be the best AD I can possibly be.”

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