Jake Johnson of Headland has been named the recipient of the 2023 Coach Johnny Oppert Scholarship. This scholarship is named in honor of Coach Johnny Oppert, the first head coach of the Wallace baseball program. Oppert also served as basketball coach and athletic director. The scholarship is awarded to a baseball student-athlete who exemplifies the qualities of outstanding character and athletic excellence for which Coach Oppert is known.
“Jake is a perfect fit for Coach Oppert’s scholarship,” head coach Ryan Ihle said. “He embodies what we want our student-athletes to be. He’s a high-character kid with high academics as well. He does everything at a high level. He puts a lot of effort into everything he does. I couldn’t think of a better recipient for this award.”
“This is a great honor,” Johnson said of receiving this scholarship. “I am just glad to have a scholarship here and get a chance to play baseball and do what I can do.”
Johnson is a freshman pitcher for the Govs. 他双手灵巧, meaning he is that rare commodity that can pitch with both his left and right hand. Last season as a senior for the Headland Rams, he pitched 50 innings, had 77 strikeouts and had an earned run average just over two.
Oppert, who was on hand to congratulate Johnson on receiving the scholarship, used his famous humor when talking about what a scholarship named in his honor means to him.
“It’s a tremendous honor,” he said. “I appreciate that people still remember me. That’s the nice thing about it. You’re not forgotten.”
Oppert will not be forgotten anytime soon. His name adorns the Coach Johnny Oppert Athletic Development Facility, a hitting and pitching complex that allows players to improve their skills. He says when he sees this facility and sees the kids using it, it makes him proud.
“I hope it influences people for the good. I hope all of these young men will be better for having come here and if I’ve played a small part in that, I’m real happy about that too.”
This is the third year that the Coach Johnny Oppert Scholarship has been presented. Last year’s recipient was Jackson Glover of Wicksburg.