Greg Byrne's Wildcat Wednesday
Andy Lopez Biography
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: January 22, 2007
Photo Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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Entering his sixth season as the head coach at Arizona, Andy Lopez has the Wildcats back on the national collegiate baseball map. Armed with four consecutive top 10-ranked recruiting classes, three-straight NCAA postseason berths and a trip to Omaha in 2004, Lopez has rebuilt the program into one that consistently competes on the highest level. In addition to his role as head coach, Lopez has reassumed his responsibilities of pitching coach, a duty he has handled for all four of his College World Series teams.


A veteran of 24 years as a collegiate head coach, Lopez begins his sixth year at UA with a lifetime 855-541-7 (.612) overall record at four schools. He is one of only 10 active coaches with a national championship to his credit, and also is just one of three skippers in all of NCAA Division I history to lead three different schools to the College World Series.


            In just five seasons at Arizona he has already guided the Wildcats to their first College World Series appearance since 1986, the first regional title since 1986, the first-ever super regional title and to three-straight postseason births for the first time since 1985-87. His five UA teams have gone a combined 168-123-1 (.597) despite playing a more challenging regular season schedule then in the past.


            Overall, Lopez’s teams have appeared in the NCAA postseason 12 times, four of which went on to Omaha and the College World Series. In 1992 he led the underdog Pepperdine Waves to the national title.


His recruiting classes have consistently been among the top in the nation, highlighted by his second-ranked class by Collegiate Baseball in 1999. His first class at Arizona earned a respectable No. 10 ranking from the publication, which was then followed up with a No. 4 ranking in 2003, a No. 6 ranking in 2004 and a No. 7 ranking in 2005.


Player development is an important part of the program under Lopez and his staff. A total of 87 players coached by Lopez have signed professional contracts, including seven that were drafted in the first 12 rounds in 2005 and 11 total players in the 2002 MLB Draft alone. In five years at UA, he has had two players selected in the first round and a total of 21 players picked by Major League teams, including 11 that had never been drafted before.


A total of 29 Lopez coached players have garnered All-America honors, 57 have been named all-conference and in 1998 he helped guide current Washington National Brad Wilkerson to national player of the year honors and the Golden Spikes Award.


He personally has been recognized nationally as the coach of the year twice and has won coach of the year honors eight times in three different conferences.


Lopez came to the Old Pueblo from the University of Florida, where he spent seven seasons turning the Gators into a top 25 program and a national championship contender. His .636 winning percentage at UF was third-best for any coach in Florida school history that spent five or more seasons in the top spot.


While in Gainesville, he led the Gators to a 278-159-1 (.636) overall record, two Southeastern Conference championships, five NCAA tournament berths and two College World Series appearances during his seven-year tenure.


He averaged 40 wins a season during his stay in the Swamp, while doubling, from two to four, the UF program’s number of trips to the College World Series. The 1996 team, which won a school record 50 games, fell just two wins shy of the national championship title game. The 1996 exploits garnered Lopez Collegiate Baseball National Coach of the Year honors, the second such recognition of his coaching career. While at Florida, his student-athletes also performed in the classroom as well, as his players were tabbed with SEC academic honors 43 times.


He began his collegiate coaching career at Cal State-Dominguez Hills in 1983. He turned the program at CSUDH first into a California Collegiate Athletics Association championship team and then into a Division II national championship contender. His teams won league titles in 1986 and ?'87, and the latter went on to the Division II College World Series. Three different times he was named the conference coach of the year at Dominguez Hills and his 168-152-2 (.525) record in six seasons caught the eye of Southern California neighbor Pepperdine.


Pepperdine hired Lopez to lead the baseball team in 1989 and he began to make waves in Malibu, Calif., right from the start. Over six seasons he tallied a record of 241-107-3 (.691), his best winning percentage at a school in his career. His first team went 41-19-1 and made the first of four NCAA postseason appearances during his stay. In 1991 the Waves finished the season 41-17-1 and exited postseason play early, but laid a foundation on which the 1992 team could build.


The 1992 season culminated in Pepperdine’s first and only national championship in school history. Thought by many to be too small of a school to compete nationally in baseball, Lopez and his team shocked the collegiate baseball world by going 48-11-1, including 8-1 in the postseason. The 3-2 title game victory over Cal-State Fullerton in Omaha earned Lopez consensus National Coach of the Year honors by Collegiate Baseball and Baseball America.


Lopez got into collegiate baseball as a player at Los Angeles Harbor Community College where he played two seasons before transferring to Pac-10 rival UCLA. A 1975 graduate of UCLA, Lopez was the team captain and starting shortstop for the ?'75 Bruin baseball team. He was drafted in the ninth round by Detroit Tigers in the amateur draft, but opted to complete his studies in Westwood and begin his coaching career instead of turning pro. He was inducted into UCLA’s Baseball Hall of Fame in 1994.


Upon completion of his studies at UCLA, he got his first coaching job at his junior college alma mater, L.A. Harbor Community College. He spent two seasons as an assistant coach there before moving on to the high school coaching ranks at Mira Costa High School in Manhattan Beach, Calif. As head coach, he led Mira Costa to a 108-48 (.692) record over five seasons before being hired at CSU Dominguez Hills.


Lopez is involved in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and has twice served as the manager for Athletes in Action. His AIA teams competed internationally in 1982 and ?'83.


He and his wife, Linda, are the proud parents of two daughters, Kristi (20) and Kerri (18), and two sons, Michael (17) and David (15). Both of his daughters are currently students at Arizona. The Lopez family resides in Tucson.


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