Greendale - The baseball players for Greendale should be somewhat familiar with their new head coach when they take the field next spring.
After all, some of them have seen him on the opposing sideline the last few years.
Brian Johnsen will move over from Whitnall High School, where he had been the head man for eight seasons, to Greendale. He will replace Ted Brzenk, who resigned after leading the Panthers for 10 years.
"This is an opportunity to coach in the district where I teach," Johnsen said. "I am a physical education teacher at Canterbury Elementary and Greendale High School. Being a teacher gives me a great opportunity to build a program. The tradition of the program, with three state titles, and the community were also reasons I took this opportunity."
Johnsen has definite plans, not only for next season, but for well beyond that.
"I want to begin to build a program from Twi-Nite Baseball all the way through the high school, find an identity for our team of who we are and how we play," he said. "Finally, I want to begin the process of building a new field at Greendale."
As a player, Johnsen learned from two of the best. He was a first-team all-state selection in 1998 at Franklin under coach Jim Hughes, then played for legendary coach Gordie Gillespie at Ripon College for two years before finishing his career at Carroll University, where he was all-conference.
He was an assistant coach at New Berlin Eisenhower for four years under Scott Schimmel before taking the Whitnall position. His teams won at least 16 games in each of the last four seasons, with a high of 20 in 2009. The Falcons were 17-13 this past season.
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