Avery Wayne Johnson Memorial Foundation
SBG Sox Baseball & Softball Programs are honored to announce the Avery Wayne Johnson Memorial Foundation, a 501C(3) non-profit corporation created for the benefit of Sox players that graduate high school and attend college.
The Foundation will award scholarships to SBG Sox Players who compete in its High School Showcase Programs. In January of each year, applications for scholarships will be accepted and awards granted upon graduation from high school and enrolment in college. Scholarship Awards will be provided directly to the student, with no restrictions on the use of the funds. The amount of the awards will be announced in January of each year, along with the total scholarships that will awarded. Playing baseball in college will not be a requirement to earn an award. In honor of his beloved Brandon Bulldogs, at least one award will go to a player that graduates from Brandon High School in Brandon, MS.
The foundation will also provide scholarships for youth players and their families that desire to play for the SBG Sox but may not be prepared to cover the cost of playing. These funds will be made available in July each season and will be awarded based on the total players that request assistance.
The initial Board of Directors for the Foundation will be seated by those that made an impact on his baseball career, player and coach.
Jason Brown, Advisor to the Board, managing the donations and funds of the Foundation
Tiffany Johnson, Advisor to the Board, scholarship award selection
Avery Johnson was born in Durant, OK on March 26, 1992. His family moved to Brandon MS when he was in the 5th grade, where he met his future wife, Tiffany Prisock. She was his first girlfriend, and later became his wife. He began playing baseball at the age of 4…and never stopped playing the game.
He played in the Brandon Recreational League when Gerard Gibert, in need of a player for his very successful Royals team, was invited to watch him play. He learned the finer points of the game, and learned the value of paying attention to the details. Through Mr. Gibert he met Chris Snopek and began elevating his skills, training in his facility in Flowood. He made the Brandon Bulldog high school team in the 8th grade, under head coach Neill Bartling. Primarily a pitcher, he played 2nd base when not on the mound, playing for 4 seasons for the Bulldogs varsity team. His time with Mr. Bartling molded him into a player, respecting the game and learning how to be a teammate. Upon graduation, he was recruited by Belhaven University, and signed a scholarship to play for the legendary coach Hill Denson.
Avery played three seasons for Coach Denson, then joined with Chris Snopek at P360 Performance Sports. Together, they created standards and goals for the company, and in 2017 he became a partner with Mr. Snopek. He elevated the pitching instruction with a program designed with Alex Gunn, and had a very calming influence on players that got the best out of them on the diamond as a coach. Coaching youth baseball under the mentorship of Chris Snopek saw his teams gain success with confidence and trust, winning at a high level and building personal relationships with players and families. He realized a dream to match up with his first mentor, Gerard Gibert, as they coached a 14U team together through the fall and spring – and took the team to Perfect Game national events in the summer. The last team he coached was a 10U team that had been struggling. In his first tournament with the team, they won the tournament.
Avery passed away on August 8, 2020. He had an older brother and two younger brothers. He was married to Tiffany and left behind two children, Brooklynn and Hayden. The impact of his passing on the game of youth baseball was immediate. His family received over 300 cards, letters, text messages – most of them from former players expressing their feeling about him. Although limited by the COVID in the summer of 2020, his funeral was heavily attended by the many friends and family in Mississippi, friends and family in Texas and Oklahoma…and several former major league players. He could not have chosen a better send off surrounded by his loving family and friends. And of course, countless baseball players.
The Avery Wayne Johnson Memorial Foundation will continue the work that he loved…teaching kids of all ages in his own way how to play the game of baseball. He set expectations of his players to work hard, listen and learn, respect the opponent, coaches and parents, win and lose with class and accept failure. And of course, have fun playing the game. He touched the lives of hundred of players in his short life, and his legacy will continue to touch the lives of hundreds more through his foundation.