St. Thomas University Head Baseball Coach, Jorge Perez, has been named the 2019 Florida Diamond Club Coach of the Year.
Perez stated, “It is an amazing honor to be named the Florida Diamond Club Coach of the Year, especially since the voters are scouts and my peers. I am incredibly proud to represent STU and earn this outstanding award.”
Perez, in his eleventh season at St. Thomas, guided the Bobcats to the programs seventh Avista NAIA World Series appearance, taking STU to the NAIA National Championship for the second time in school history (2015). St. Thomas finished the 2019 season with a 49-15 record, finishing as the National Runner-Ups.
Perez earned his 400th career win in a Sun Conference sweep over 2018 NAIA National Champions, Southeastern University, as STU won 14-2. Perez is the second coach in program history to reach the 400-win milestone, trailing only Manny Mantrana in wins (451).
Under Perez’s leadership, St. Thomas has reached the NAIA World Series in three of the previous five seasons (2015, 2018, 2019) and has qualified for the NAIA Opening Round in five consecutive years (2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019).
“This award is a testament to the hard work and tremendous support from the University’s administration, coaches, athletics’ staff and players,” added Perez.
Previous winners of the Diamond Club Coach of the Year include University of Florida Head Coach, Kevin O’Sullivan (2017), Nova Southeastern University Head Coach, Greg Brown (2016) and University of Tampa Head Coach, Joe Urso (2015).
In addition to the Florida Diamond Club Coach of the Year honor, Perez was named a 2019 ABCA/Diamond NAIA Regional Coach of the year for the third time in his career (2015, 2018). The Bobcats had nine players recognized with All-Sun Conference honors, while Ian Exposito (Pitcher of the Year) and Joey Thompson (Freshman of the Year) earned individual honors.
Perez saw four members of the 2019 club start professional baseball careers. The Milwaukee Brewers drafted Jackie Urbaez in the 29th round, while Orlando Rodriguez (Cincinnati Reds) Ian Exposito (Milwaukee Brewers) and NAIA Second-Team All-American, Sergio Lopez (Southern Illinois Miners) all signed professionally.
In 2018, Perez earned Sun Conference Coach of the Year honors, establishing a new program record for wins (56), guiding the Bobcats to the NAIA World Series and coached four players to NAIA All-American honors; Elih Marrero, Nelson Mompierre, Orlando Rodriguez and Jackie Urbaez. St. Thomas led the country in doubles (197), at-bats (2,266), hits (817), runs (652) and batting average (0.361).
Dating back to 1972, the Florida Diamond Club is a non-profit organization, which promotes baseball in the state of Florida, heighten the overall awareness of baseball as “the National Pastime” and provide an environment where baseball is the focus for players, scouts, coaches and fans.