bleedCrimson.net Michael Johnson Interview :: 08/13/13

bleedCrimson.net: What drew your interest to making a donation to Aggie baseball?
Michael Johnson: A primary interest is that I love baseball. My family loves baseball and we've been involved in baseball for as long as I can remember. Of course the main interest is New Mexico State. It's our alma mater and we spend a lot of time at New Mexico State watching other sports. I would like to see the baseball program have nice facilities and be able to compete in their conference.

bc.net: What factors led you to decide to make your donation at this particular time?
MJ: One of the factors is that the team has been doing very well over the past four or five years. I've made a lot of donations to other parts of the University which I felt were important and had pretty much gotten those behind me and I felt that this was an opportune time for the baseball program since again, they've done so well and they need a push here to try to get to the next level of achievement. So, it was sort of a situation where'd I'd given to a lot of the other departments and I felt like baseball was my top priority.

bc.net: What were some specific things that you saw in terms of the facilities that you readily identified as needed improvements?
MJ: I wanted some time to look at the facilities a couple of years ago when my daughter was graduation from New Mexico State and so I took off one afternoon to look at the facilities and try to get an idea of what they looked like and what they needed. It appeared that the stands of course are probably the biggest need because they're not symmetrical and they're not big. Also, there's no shade for anybody when they're in the stands. The other thing that looked like it needed a lot of attention was the dugouts.

bc.net: You've made some contributions to the Rice baseball program as well. Are there some similarities that you saw between that program when you made those donations and the Aggie baseball program right now?
MJ: There Rice baseball program and the Aggie baseball program, I would say they're in sort of similar positions. When I started contributing to the Rice baseball program in 1997, they had a coach that had been around a few years but he was fairly new and he had a great track record of producing winners. The team had been able to attract some really good talent and had a few years under their belt of producing All-Americans and fielding a good solid team and I feel that New Mexico State is in a similar position there.

I think that Rocky is an excellent coach. I think he's done a great job with what he's had over the last three years. You look at the number of All-Americans that have come out of the program and look at their numbers, especially batting statistics. He's done a great job of getting the team on the field ready to win. They've contended in the conference the last several years.

They're in similar positions, both of them just needed a bit of a push to try to get them over. Rice, within six of seven years of when we started contributing there, won a national championship. They're a perennial Regional and Super Regional power and I think New Mexico State can be that way too.