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BIO

HEAD COACH ANDY LOPEZ
  • University of Florida
  • Two-time National Coach of the Year
  • UCLA '75

Since arriving on the Gainesville campus seven years ago, Andy Lopez has successfully re-energized Florida baseball back among the top collegiate programs in the country. With a school-record three consecutive NCAA regional appearances, two College World Series appearances and two Southeastern Conference titles during his tenure, Lopez has the Gator program pointed towards the Midwest- Omaha, to be exact. As the site of the College World Series, Omaha is where Lopez wants his program to finish each season, challenging for the opportunity to play on the final day and a chance to win the national championship.

Lopez speaks from experience. And he recruits and coaches with this one intent- to play for and win the national championship. He accomplished the feat at Pepperdine in 1992 and has taken the Florida Gator baseball program two times over the last seven years to the College World Series, including his 1996 squad which came within two wins of the national title game.

"My ultimate goal is to give my players and coaches the chance to play on the final day of the season for the national championship...to play the final nine innings," says Lopez. "We will do it through hard work, dedication, preparation and a winning attitude. Doing things the right way all of the time can pay off in the long run."

Lopez is entering his seventh season as head baseball coach at Florida and his 19th as a collegiate head coach. In addition to his overall management of the program, Lopez also serves as the pitching coach for the Gator program. Known nationally for his handling of pitching staffs, the 45-year-old Lopez has tutored 24 hurlers who went on to play pro ball, including three first round draft picks. His pitching staffs finished among the top-20 nationally in ERA in each of his last four years at Pepperdine, including the second-best ERA in the country in 1992.

Hired on June 20, 1994 to guide the UF program after six seasons at Pepperdine, Lopez led Florida to a 32-24 record in his initial season. One year later, he had successfully turned the fortunes of the Gator baseball program and has not looked back since.

In 1996, Lopez and his staff led the Gators through an exciting breakthrough season that saw their ascension in the polls from an unranked position in the preseason to the No. 1 ranking for two weeks during the campaign. The Gators, who finished 50-18 with a 20-10 SEC record, provided excitement from day one. UF claimed the Eastern Division title, a share of the Southeastern Conference title and the East Regional Championship at home in Gainesville to advance to the College World Series for the third time in school history. Florida finished third at the College World Series, falling two wins short of the title game.

In 1997, Lopez guided the Gators back into regional action for the second consecutive season, just the fourth time in school history the Gators have advanced into regional play in back-to-back seasons.

The 1998 season again ended with a trip to the College World Series. Ranked among the top five for most of the season, Florida earned the No. 1 seed at the CWS before dropping its first two games in Omaha. The Gators won the SEC Eastern Division crown for the third consecutive year and claimed the overall SEC title outright with a 21-8 record. Earning the right to host a regional for the second time in three years, the Gators advanced to Omaha with a thrilling come-from-behind win over Illinois in the 11th inning of the regional championship game.

Despite losing its top three pitchers, the 2000 season saw Florida win 30 of its final 41 games before finishing runner up at the Waco, Texas Regional to eventual CWS participant San Jose State. The Gators finished 44-23-1, advanced to an NCAA Regional for the fifth time in the last six years and 18th time in Florida baseball history.

Known as one of the top recruiters in the nation, Lopez has attracted some of the top prep and junior college talent to Gainesville each season. His recruiting classes have consistently been ranked among the top 10, highlighted by his first class in 1996 that included UF standouts Josh Fogg, Mark Ellis and Brad Wilkerson and the 1999 crop which was listed No. 2 by Collegiate Baseball's recruiting rankings.

While Lopez brings over 20 years of coaching experience to the Florida program, it is his success in Omaha that commands the most respect. He guided Pepperdine University, a school many considered too small to compete on the national level, to the national championship in 1992. By taking the Florida squad to collegiate baseball's promised land in 1996, he became just the seventh coach in NCAA Division I-A history to take two different schools to the College World Series.

But, Lopez is far from content on living off his successes at Pepperdine or past Gator triumphs. "It was a great experience to win the national championship," says Lopez. "But I don't wear my national championship ring on my finger and that is for one reason. I want to win one here at the University of Florida."

After a standout prep career at San Pedro High School, Lopez played for two seasons at Los Angeles Harbor Junior College before finishing his collegiate career at UCLA, earning induction into the school's baseball Hall of Fame in 1994. Lopez was the team captain as the starting shortstop in 1975 and was a ninth-round draft pick by the Detroit Tigers after the season. But, Lopez turned down the Tigers to complete his education and began his career in coaching.

Lopez began his career as an assistant at his alma mater, L.A. Harbor Junior College, during the 1976 and 1977 seasons. He then accepted the head coaching position at Mira Costa High School in Manhattan Beach, Calif., during which he led MCHS to a five-year record of 108-48 from 1978-82.

His college coaching career then started at Cal-State Dominguez Hills a year later in 1983. Inheriting a losing program, Lopez directed them to league titles in both 1986 and 1987 and the school's first-ever trip to the Division II College World Series in '87. He was named the California Collegiate Athletics Association Coach-of-the-Year three times during his tenure.

In 1989, Lopez began his six-year stint at Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif. and compiled a 241-107-3 (.691) record. During the span, he led his squads to four NCAA Regional appearances and four West Coast Conference Championships, as well as the NCAA title in 1992. In addition to winning the national title in '92, Baseball America ranked Pepperdine in their season-ending top 25 polls in 1989, 1991 and 1993.

Lopez was named the consensus National Coach of the Year in 1992 and he won or shared the West Coast Conference Coach of the Year honors four times while at Pepperdine. The honors and accolades have followed him to Florida as he earned National Coach-of-the-Year recognition again in 1996 from Collegiate Baseball and a share of the Southeastern Conference Coach-of-the-Year honors.

Lopez has also coached baseball at the international level, having managed Athletes in Action during the summers of 1982 and 1983.

Fifty-seven of his Division I players have signed professional contracts and 19 players have earned All-America honors.

Lopez is involved in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and serves on the board of the Boys and Girls Club of Gainesville. He and his wife, Linda, reside in Gainesville with their two daughters, Kristi (13) and Kerri (11), and two sons, Michael (10) and David (8).


LOPEZ YEAR-BY-YEAR
Year School Record Pct.. League NCAA Postseason
1983 CSUDH 15-27 .357 8-19 -
1984 CSUDH 25-35-1 .417 11-19 -
1985 CSUDH 34-23 .596 20-10 -
1986 CSUDH 32-22-1 .593 19-11 -
1987 CSUDH 43-15 .741 23-7 -
1988 CSUDH 19-30 .388 10-20 -
1989 Pepperdine 41-19-1 .680 20-4 0-2
1990 Pepperdine 37-23 .617 24-12 -
1991 Pepperdine 41-17-1 .707 25-10 0-2
1992 Pepperdine 48-11-1 .814 23-4 8-1
1993 Pepperdine 41-17 .707 24-6 1-2
1994 Pepperdine 33-20 .623 20-10 -
1995 Florida 32-24 .571 12-14 -
1996 Florida 50-18 .667 20-10 6-2
1997 Florida 40-24 .625 17-13 2-2
1998 Florida 46-18 .719 21-8 4-3
1999 Florida 31-25 .554 13-17 -
2000 Florida 44-23-1 .647 18-11-1 3-2
2001 Florida 35-27 .565 16-14 1-2
Totals 19 Years 687-418-6 .618 342-219-1 25-18
7 Years at UF 278-159-1 .635 117-87-1 16-10
SCHOOL-BY-SCHOOL WITH ANDY LOPEZ
Years School Record Pct. League NCAA Postseason
83-88 CSUDH (6) 168-152-2 .522 91-86 0-0
89-94 Pepperdine (6) 241-107-3 .686 136-46 9-7
95-01 Florida (7) 278-159-1 .635 117-87-1 16-10
Totals 19 Years 687-418-6 .618 342-219-1 25-18

THE LOPEZ FILE

Birthdate: November 30, 1953
Hometown: Los Angeles, Calif.
Education: Bachelor of Arts, UCLA, 1975; Associate of Arts, L.A. Harbor Junior College, 1973; San Pedro High School, 1971.
Playing Career: Drafted by the Detroit Tigers, 1975; UCLA, 1974-75; L.A. Harbor Junior College, 1972-73; San Pedro High School, 1969-71
Overall Coaching Record: 652-391-6 (18 years)
Coaching Career: Head Coach, University of Florida, 1995-present; Head Coach, Pepperdine University, 1989-94; Head Coach, Cal-State Dominguez Hills, 1983-88; Head Coach, Mira Costa High School, 1978-82; Assistant Coach, L.A. Harbor Junior College, 1976-77.
Coaching Highlights: Two-time National Coach of the Year (1992, 1996); Eight-time Conference Coach of the Year; Coached eight teams that appeared in NCAA Regional action; 1996 Collegiate Baseball National Coach of the Year; 1996 SEC Co-Coach of the Year; Led Gators to 1996 and 1998 College World Series and Southeastern Conference title; 1992 Pepperdine team won National Championship; Pepperdine squads appeared in four NCAA Regionals and captured four West Coast Conference (WCC) Championships; 1992 National Coach of the Year (Collegiate Baseball and Baseball America); 1989, 1991, 1992 and 1993 WCC Coach of the Year.

LOPEZ AND PLAYER ACCOMPLISHMENT

All America selections: 19
National Player of the Year: 1
All Region selections: 20
All-SEC recipients: 15 since 1995
All-conference recipients: 44
Major League Baseball draftees at Florida: 27 since 1995
Major League Baseball draftees: 59
Academic All Americas: 3
SEC Academic honorees: 49 since 1995

LOPEZ MILESTONE WINS
No. School Date Opponent Score
1 CS-Dominguez Hills 2/5/83 UC-San Diego 4-1
100 CS-Dominguez Hills 4/26/86 C.S.-Northridge 5-0
200 Pepperdine 4/25/89 C.S.-Fullerton 14-6
300 Pepperdine 3/13/92 Loyola Marymount 17-4
400 Pepperdine 4/16/94 Santa Clara 4-3 (12)
500 Florida 2/27/97 Florida State 3-2 (11)
600 Florida 4/21/99 Stetson 9-1
THE LOPEZ FACTOR
1 National title (1992)
3 College World Series appearances (1992, 1996, 1998)
3 NCAA Regional titles (1992, 1996, 1998)
9 NCAA Regional appearances (1989, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2001)
5 Conference titles (1989, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1998)
.618 Career winning percentage over 19 seasons
687 Career wins in 19 seasons
278 Career wins at Florida in seven seasons
3 45+ victory seasons
8 40+ victory seasons
15 30+ victory seasons
2 National Coach of the Year awards
8 Conference Coach of the Year awards
19 All America players
20 All Region honorees
44 All conference players
57 Major League Baseball draftees
49 SEC Academic honorees

LOPEZ AT FLORIDA
Two College World Series appearances (1996, 1998)
Two SEC Championships (1996, 1998)
Named 1996 Collegiate Baseball National Coach of the Year and 1996 SEC Co-Coach of the Year
Five NCAA Regional appearances (1996, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2001)
Three SEC Eastern Division titles (1996, 1997, 1998)
One 50+ win season (1996)
Four 40+ win seasons (1996, 1997, 1998, 2000)
Seven 30+ win seasons (1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001)
Two NCAA Regionals hosted (1996, 1998)
Six SEC Tournament appearances

LOPEZ AND COLLEGE WORLD SERIES HISTORY
Head Coach Andy Lopez, who led Pepperdine to the CWS title in 1992, became one of eight coaches to take two different squads to Omaha when he led Florida to the 1996 CWS. Only two coaches in the history of college baseball, Larry Cochell and Ron Polk, have taken three different squads to the College World Series while six other coaches have taken two or more schools to series. Here is the breakdown of the coaches that have led two or more schools to Omaha:

3 Larry Cochell (Oral Roberts-1978; Cal State Fullerton- 1988, 1990; Oklahoma- 1992, 1994, 1995)
3 Ron Polk (Georgia Southern- 1973; Mississippi State- 1979, 1981, 1985, 1990; Georgia 2001)
2 Andy Lopez (Pepperdine- 1992; Florida- 1996, 1998)
2 Danny Litwhiller (Michigan State- 1954; Florida State- 1957, 1960, 1963)
2 Tom Petroff (Rider- 1967; Northern Colorado- 1974)
2 Dave Snow (Loyola Marymount- 1986; Long Beach State- 1989)
2 Jack Stallings (Florida State- 1970; Georgia Southern- 1990)
2 Augie Garrido (Cal State Fullerton- 1975, 1979, 1984, 1995; Texas- 2000)
LOPEZ YEAR-BY-YEAR IN THE NCAA POSTSEASON
Overall Record: 25-18 (9 appearances)
1989 (0-2)
West II Regional, Fresno, Calif.
5/26 Michigan 4, Pepperdine 3
5/27 Wichita State 12, Pepperdine 1
   
1991 (0-2)
West Regional, Los Angles, Calif.
5/24 Creighton 5, Pepperdine 3
5/25 Southern Cal 17, Pepperdine 7
   
1992 (8-1)
West Regional, Tucson, Ariz.
5/22 Pepperdine 5, Fresno State 4 (10)
5/23 Pepperdine 8, Southeast Louisiana 5
5/24 Pepperdine 11, Washington 0
5/25 Hawaii 6, Pepperdine 3
5/25 Pepperdine 9, Hawaii 0
College World Series, Omaha, Neb.
5/30 Pepperdine 6, Wichita State 0
6/1 Pepperdine 7, Texas 0
6/4 Pepperdine 5, Texas 4
6/6 Pepperdine 3, Cal-State Fullerton 2
   
1993 (1-2)
West Regional, Tempe, Ariz.
5/27 Pepperdine 4, Minnesota 1
5/28 Cal State-Northridge 7, Pepperdine 6
5/29 St. John's 4, Pepperdine 1
   
1996 (6-2)
East Regional, Gainesville, Fla.
5/23 Florida 7, Bucknell 0
5/24 Florida 12, North Carolina State 9
5/25 Florida 6, South Florida 4
5/26 Florida 12, Massachussetts 2
College World Series, Omaha, Neb.
6/1 Florida 5, Florida State 2
6/3 LSU 9, Florida 4
6/4 Florida 6, Florida State 3
6/6 LSU 2, Florida 1
   
1997 (2-2)
Atlantic I Regional, Coral Gables, Fla.
5/22 Florida 4, St. John's 3
5/23 Arizona State 3, Florida 2
5/24 Florida 16, Richmond 2
5/24 Miami 6, Florida 5 (11)
   
1998 (4-3)
South Regional, Gainesville, Fla.
5/21 Florida 12, Monmouth 8
5/22 Baylor 10, Florida 5
5/23 Florida 15 Richmond 3
5/23 Florida 12, Wake Forest 9
5/24 Florida 7, Illinois 6 (11)
College World Series, Omaha, Neb.
5/30 Mississippi State 14, Florida 13
6/1 Southern Cal 12, Florida 10 (11)
   
2000 (3-2)
Waco Regional, Waco, Texas
5/26 San Jose State 4, Florida 1
5/27 Florida 10, Baylor 1
5/27 Florida 14, Southwest Texas State 0
5/28 Florida 8, San Jose State 7
5/29 San Jose State 3, Florida 1
   
2001 (1-2)
Coral Gables Regional, Miami, Fla.
5/25 Florida 10 Stetson 9
5/26 Miami 6 Florida 2
5/26 Stetson 6 Florida 3
   
LOPEZ IN THE COLLEGE WORLD SERIES
Overall Record: 6-4 (3 appearances)
1992 (4-0)
National Champions
5/30 Pepperdine 6, Wichita State 0
6/1 Pepperdine 7, Texas 0
6/4 Pepperdine 5, Texas 4
6/6 Pepperdine 3, Cal-State Fullerton 2
   
1996 (2-2)
6/1 Florida 5, Florida State 2
6/3 LSU 9, Florida 4
6/4 Florida 6, Florida State 3
6/6 LSU 2, Florida 1
   
1998 (0-2)
5/30 Mississippi State 14, Florida 13
6/1 Southern Cal 12, Florida 10 (11)

THE WORD ON ANDY LOPEZ

"I was just so impressed with what a solid individual Andy Lopez is, and that transfers down to his players. And as a baseball coach, if you look at the teams he has produced- winning a national championship at a relatively small, private school- that says a lot about his ability."
-Jim Kaat, Major League pitcher who broadcasts college and professional games for ESPN

"He's the kind of coach you'd want to send your son to. I got a chance to get to know him when Pepperdine won the College World Series a couple years ago. I think he's going to be a great combination of recruiting good players and good young men, and I like his ethics approach to college baseball."
-Jim Kaat, ESPN announcer

"He brings to Florida a reputation as an accomplished developer of pitchers. Pepperdine staffs under Lopez finished in the nation's Top-20 in ERA in each of the last four years, and produced a pair of first-round draft picks in Derek Wallace (1992) and Cade Gaspar (1994)."
-Pat Dooley, Gainesville Sun

"Substance is what Andy Lopez is all about. He talks about winning with class. He turned down the Detroit Tigers when they drafted the UCLA shortstop because nobody in his family had finished school. He would be the first."
-Pat Dooley, Gainesville Sun

"Lopez has built a reputation as a coach who believes in the basics- hard work, family values, a commitment to academics."
-Mike Dame, Orlando Sentinel

"We have conducted a national search for this position and we feel strongly that Andy Lopez is the right man for the job. Andy Lopez brings with him an impressive list of credentials at Pepperdine, including a national championship. He has done a tremendous job of bringing Pepperdine to the highest success at the national level and we are very excited to have him join the Gator family."
-Jeremy Foley, Florida Athletic Director after hiring Lopez as head baseball coach in 1995

"That's the great thing about baseball. You don't have to have the great athletes like you do in football or basketball. You have to get the players to believe. Andy has his players believing."
-Skip Bertman, LSU head baseball coach

Lopez has found a way to get his message across. They have believed from the first day of fall practice, believed they could win the SEC, believed they could get into a regional, believed they could go all the way to Omaha. They believed in Miami and Tallahassee and Columbia, S.C. They believed down four to LSU and they never have stopped believing.
-Pat Dooley, Gainesville Sun on Florida being ranked No. 1 and earning a trip to the College World Series in 1996

"The thing about Andy is that he seems too good to be true until you find out that he is true. He is who he is. And what you see is pretty good. You're going to enjoy the consistency of Andy Lopez. His team will be a reflection of him."
-Augie Garrido, Texas baseball coach in 1995

"In all honesty, I don't know how Andy has done the job he has done at Florida...It couldn't happen to a nicer guy. He's a class act."
-Mike Martin, Florida State head baseball coach

"We just try to go out there and play the game and just play against the game, like Coach Lopez says. We don't play against a certain team. We play against the game, as Coach says, and the game will come to you."
-Brad Wilkerson in 1996

"All my life, I've grown up in a disciplined home with my mom and dad, and when I came here, it was the same thing. The way Coach Lopez runs the team is the way my family ran our house. You've got to be on time and do things right."
-David Eckstein in 1996

"Coach Lopez shows a lot of trust in us. He has got a lot of sayings but that first day of practice we just came out and started working hard, and we showed him we could work hard. And he told us that as long as we work hard, no matter what we do, win or lose, it's going to be a good year for us, because he likes working with hard-working people. He set the tone early."
-Brad Wilkerson in 1996 after the Gators advanced to the College World Series

...Two rules, that's all. In his 12 seasons as a college baseball coach, Andy Lopez asked his players to be on time and do things the right way...
-Chris Harry, Orlando Sentinel in 1996

Lopez grew up in Los Angeles and was a member of a street gang called the Persuasions. He got beat up, dodged bullets on the streets and twice escaped an attacker who tried to stab him with a knife.
-Gary Lundy, Orlando Sentinel

Lopez has persuaded the Florida Gators that maybe, just maybe, they are the best college baseball team in the nation. In one year, Lopez has turned the Gators from a bickering bunch of clubhouse clowns into a hard-working, never-quitting team of bellysliding butt-busters. The Gators are ranked No. 1 in the nation, have the highest team batting average in school history and are within two victories of winning their first conference title since 1988.
-Mike Bianchi, Florida Times-Union

Lopez believes in the basics- family, hard work, good grades and good kids. His motto during the 1992 College World Series was "Image vs. Substance...Substance is what Andy Lopez is about...He preaches fumndamentals and pitching...He talks about winning but only winning with class."
-Pat Dooley, Gainesville Sun

"Andy Lopez has been in knife fights, he's been shot at, punched, kicked in the face...and survived the mean streets of Rancho San Pedro, L.A. A quarter century later, the baseball coach at the University of Florida still talks tough, walks with a bit of a swagger, watches his back and, yes, he remains the great persuader."
-Mike Bianchi, Florida Times-Union

...Lopez is what many strive to be. Successful in his work, crazy about his wife, proud of his four children, devoted to his faith. He is the American dream and that dream now includes Gainesville and the Florida Gators baseball team...
-Pat Dooley, Gainesville Sun

Coats and ties on road trips. Leave the dugout cleaner than the way you found it. Substance, not image, is what matters to Lopez. Image is a lie.
-Pat Dooley, Gainesville Sun

"Florida is very fortunate to get a man of his caliber. Andy was born to coach."
-Gary Adams, UCLA baseball coach in 1995

"Andy's a class guy. He will win at Florida. He'll be playing for it all a lot of the time."
-Mike Gillespie, Southern California baseball coach in 1995

"Coach Lopez wants to make you the best player you can be. Who wouldn't want that?"
-Rick Eckstein in 1996

"Coach has helped me a lot with my curveball and my mechanics. My mechanics were pretty bad in high school and last year. We worked a lot on it and now my arm doesn't hurt anymore. Last year, it would hurt every day. I was flying open really bad."
-Jay Belflower on Coach Lopez

"As soon as I knew I had a chance to play here and for Coach Lopez, I knew this would be a perfect place for me."
-Derek Nicholson in 1998

"Everybody wants to win but with a leader like Coach Lopez, always telling you that you can do it, that you have the talent to do it, you just have to go out there and play hard every day and things will happen."
-Mark Ellis in 1998

"Coach Lopez is amazing. I knew what kind of great guy he was from the recruiting process. On the field, I had always heard he was an aggressive coach, and that was true. We hit-and-run, we steal a lot of bases, and are aggressive with pitching. And that's really what he is. He's a really aggressive coach, and a really positive person. He's always for the player. He might get on you one day, but it's not personal. It's nothing personal ever. He's just a great guy and a great coach."
-Mark Ellis on Coach Lopez

"You can bet Lopez will be a fixture at the College World Series at Florida..."
-Mike Patrick, ESPN baseball play-by-play announcer

"Andy Lopez believes in the true concept of the student-athlete. He takes a personal interest in his players both on and off the field."
-Steve Garvey, ESPN baseball analyst

"Coach Lopez is the coach who will be able to take me to a higher level as a player and help Florida win a national championship."
-Brad Wilkerson as a high school senior

"Coach Lopez told me that you can come and play for a national title or watch us play for a national title. Now that we're here in Omaha, he is a man of his word."
-Paul Rigdon in 1996

"It is amazing how much he coaches. During games, he's coaching all the time. We could be winning 25-0 and he is still coaching. We could be losing 25-0 and he is still coaching, still trying to teach you something about the game. The thing I like most about Coach Lopez is that he isn't just teaching us about baseball, he's teaching us about life."
-Eric Castaldo in 1995

"I finally understood what Coach Lopez was trying to do. He'd be getting on me in the bullpen, trying to make me mad almost. But it finally hit me that he just wants me to go out there and say, 'I'm going to show you and here it is.' Attack the strike zone. Make it a personal battle."
-Tommy Bond in 1997

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