Former Bishop Amat baseball coach Andy Nieto is taking his championship resume to Damien

By Fred J. Robledo
andynietoAs expected, Damien High School hired former Bishop Amat coach Andy Nieto to take over its baseball program on Thursday.
Nieto, one of the winningest coaches in Southern California over the last decade, resigned less than a week after earning his fourth championship in eight years at Bishop Amat.
The Lancers ended the season with ten straight victories culminating with a come-from-behind 4-3 victory over top-seed Palm Desert for the CIF-SS Division 3 title at Dodger Stadium in June.
Nieto said he was leaving to pursue other opportunities, and soon after he announced he was leaving, Damien fired coach Al Leyva, prompting speculation that Damien would target Nieto.
Damien’s principal Merritt Hemenway was the principal at Bishop Amat when it hired Nieto, and the two remained close.
“I think it’s probably easier to say third time’s the charm,” Nieto said. “He (Hemenway) hired me at Cantwell (Sacred Heart) many moons ago when I was finishing my degree at USC. It’s a great relationship that we built and I owe the start of my teaching career to him and I owe a lot to him helping me establish my career as a coach and teacher.”
Leyva was 107-61 in six seasons at Damien, but never won a league championship. His best year was his first in 2009 when Damien finished 21-9 and advanced to the CIF-SS Division 2 semifinals. Damien was 17-10 this past season, finished in a tie for third in the Sierra League and was ousted in the first round of the playoffs.
Nieto thinks he can take Damien to the next level.
“I have always had the utmost respect for Damien, they never lacked talent or ability,” Nieto said. “For me this place has endless possibilities. When you combine the athletic facilities and resources, Damien is a sleeping giant.
“This program, there’s no fixing here, it’s on solid ground. For whatever the reason, they’ve always played well and they’ve knocked on the door of a championship. They’ve been knocking on the door for many years, lets figure out how to go through it and win this thing.”
Nieto won back-to-back titles when he first arrived at Bishop Amat in 2007 and ‘08, and added another banner in 2011 to go with seven consecutive Del Rey League championships.
Nieto finishes with a career record of 196-55-1 at Bishop Amat and in 2011 the Lancers finished the season ranked sixth nationally and won the prestigious National Classic.
Nieto arrived at Bishop Amat with huge expectations after previously serving as an assistant coach at USC from 1997-2006.
Nieto won a national championship with the Trojans in 1998 and went to the NCAA college World Series in Omaha three times with the Trojans in 1998, 2000 and 2001.
Nieto also served as an assistant baseball coach at Glendale community college in 1996 and was a recruiting coordinator for East Los Angeles College in 1995.
Bishop Amat was Nieto’s second high school head coaching job, having coached at Cantwell Sacred Heart from 1991-94 where he led the Cardinals to three league titles with a 62-35 overall record.
Nieto earned his bachelor’s degree in physical education from USC in 1991 and master’s degree from Azusa Pacific and is a 1982 graduate of Schurr High.

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  • Stealthyrobert

    YAWN YAWN YAWN

  • Michael & Nancy Macias

    Congratulations Andy! You are such a great coach and we’ve seen how hard you work. We’ve known you for years and have nothing but repect for you. Wishing you the best in your new endeavor.

    • Not Since 1995

      Must be on that A squad…

      • Michael & Nancy Macias

        I sent my son to his camp about 20 years ago. Through the years we have followed his career since we still live in the area. He was won championships and has helped kids get to the next level and watching that is amazing. We are not ashamed of posting our names.

    • Stealthyrobert

      We all at Amat want to thank coach Nieto for giving Clemente Bonilla the opportunity to win some championships. Well be in more title games like we should!!!!

  • The stands

    I’m sure the alumni and parents over at Sparty are popping champagne corks. There are interesting times ahead.

    • Sports watcher

      Not so sure those parents are celebrating. The lineup may no include their kid next season. Especially if they play SS. Andy will recruit as he always does. It shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone.

  • reality

    Clearly this coach has done some things right besides just winning. Most coaches on this blog that get praised also get destroyed by the bloggers despite their successes. This coach seems immune to these attacks. The reason is he still retains respect even from the programs he leaves behind. This post may stir an isolated angry parent but for the most-part the coach still seems to have kept his character intact. Congrats coach.

    • Stealthyrobert

      If you notice he follows Hemingway. Every time he has gotten fired he falls on MHphd. Hemingway lets him get away with all his underhanded ways. A challenge would have been Servite yet its a fact Servite was to big of a challenge for him. He just wants a job these days it was long over for him about baseball and getting kids prepared I’m surprised that all you baseball people out there have not figured him out yet..

      • Leroy

        Heard Bonilla is out!!

        • Stealthyrobert

          I just heard hes in

        • Stealthyrobert

          Amat did not want to pay what he wanted!!

      • AMAT 73

        sr,
        The fact of the matter he is gone . Wish him well , thanks for the 4 titles , end of story , it’s Damien’s turn now so let’s see if all the drama ???? that occured at AMAT follows or begins by angry B group parents .

        • Stealthyrobert

          Funny but most of the problems were with the “A” parents.

        • Stealthyrobert

          Hes a very good coach I never said that he was not

      • Michael & Nancy Macias

        I think you were misinformed, he was not fired, he resigned. Huge difference.

      • Michael & Nancy Macias

        And, it seems in reviewing your profile that 99% of your posts are all negative about coach Nieto. Either your an angry parent or a jealous coach who doesn’t get the recognition you think you deserve. P.S. He is not at Amat anymore….Get a life and leave it alone. You just make yourself sound very bitter and not credible.

        • Stealthyrobert

          I work for the school he was fired I dont care what he or anyone told you. He was a real scumbag around campus everyone is glad hes gone. I DONT WISH HIM ON MY WORST ENEMY its a shame Damien will have to deal with him. And the only reason hes there is Hemingway the administration does not want him. Its a shame that that program will have to see for themselves He does not belong at a Catholic school

          • Michael & Nancy Macias

            Again…..you just sound sour. I pray for you.

          • Michael & Nancy Macias

            No, I just know how to appreciate great coaches when I see them. My daughter played at the next level because of coaches like Mr. Nieto, so we know the sweat and hard work it takes. We ignore negative people like you. You’re obviously the bitter and ignorant one. I will not respond to you anymore. You obviously are trying hard to discredit a man that has moved on. We wish him well and I’m sure many other people do as well whether you like it or agree, it really doesn’t matter.

          • Stealthyrobert

            Its hard work and ability that get kids to the next level not there coaches. The good ones move on its the ones on the bubble that need help from there coach, At Amat the coaches in the baseball program get a super kid or kids then when they move on they say look what I did. Anyone can do that.They have taken one kid and helped him become a superstar in college and hes pitching at UCLA. All the other kids came in with the ability to play at the next level pure and simple. You need not answer me back you obviously dont have the common sense to figure these things out. All you think theirs some magic formula that these guys have. you know what it is its talent the kids talent they play the games. You get it yet???

          • FredJ

            If you’re right, try explaining David Berg, who learned a certain pitch (Submarine) at Amat and eventually turned it into a scholarship at UCLA, where he was thrived and will get drafted when he’s finished? Can any coach turn a player like that? Nieto and his staff and connections were without peer. Without developing Berg into the middle reliever he was, Amat probably doesn’t win CIF that year.

          • Stealthyrobert

            I was referring to Berg.

          • Stealthyrobert

            Correction the school told him to move on!!!

          • FredJ

            Stealthy, give it a rest. You’re a one-man campaign on this. The fact that you’re likely someone connected to an athletic department or get your info from being on campus is scary for everyone. For you to write what you write shows what your character is all about. How can you in one sentence sound like you’re all about ethics and morals, then call someone a scumbag from behind a keyboard. You need help and you know it.

          • Leroy

            Amen!! Thank you Fred!!

          • Stealthyrobert

            Just as you stir up crap with the way you present a story and show how much of a homer you really are . Just state the facts please.

  • http://sgvtribune.com/ Galileo

    I would love to see either AA or Lokar back at Amat

  • Jastrab

    JA,

    How do you see Damian doing in the Baseline in Football, Basketball and Baseball? Over the next three years they could possibly not make the playoffs (I guess basketball due to how they move), but in Football and Baseball they could be out until the next realignment. They might get more kids from LO, Etiwanda, Upland, RC or CH, but why go to Damien to play locally?

    • http://sgvtribune.com/ Galileo

      football…no shot at all…Upland,Rancho,Los Osos all head and shoulders above Sparty, BB, Etiwanda,Rancho,Upland the same, add in Chino Hills who is their equal in both those sports and Damien won’t even get a wild card!….Baseball…they have a shot..if Nieto is really a magic worker

      • Lancelot

        Good Luck over at Damien Coach Nieto. Please don’t remember us by the pin heads that post under the psuedo names of the Amat Blue and Gold. You brought Championships, Recognition and Respect to the Amat Baseball Program. Despite what some may say (or post), your shoes will be very hard to fill. Hopefully Amat will continue to draw some of the top Baseball Talent in the area (as in the past). Keep tabs Amat faithful, and let’s see if the years to come are as fruitful as the years past. Go Amat! Go Big Blue!

        • fb102

          Amat baseball will be just fine…..Some folks THINK Nieto created the baseball program from the ground up. It’s not like he won the ‘ship EVERY season. The respect and recognition was ALREADY at Amat PRIOR to Nieto arriving. Ever hear of Kenny Kendrena? Coach Beck does not get enough credit for the pitching staff’s strength season after season.

          The players that were legit stars, would have been successful no matter who the coach was or is going to be. They work hard as individuals to become good.

          • Lancelot

            Take it easy fb102, nobody needs an Amat history lesson. Amat fans know where Amat stands, past and present. Just thanking the former Coach for a job well done and an acknowledgement for keeping the program where it belongs while here. Amat Baseball will just fine. Go Big Blue!

          • fb102

            Then a simple Thank you would have been sufficient……

          • Lancelot

            Thank you.

          • Stealthyrobert

            You hit the nail on the head thanks

  • Stealthyrobert

    Just a quick note I will no longer be posting on this blog we have to many people In here that don’t see with there eyes and its frustrating to see the ignorance that they exhume!!

    • Lupe

      OOH Noos say it ain’t so. What will everyone do?

      • reality

        I too will no longer be posting on this blog. To many ignorant people who don’t take what I say as the absolute truth. You’ll all be sorry.”

  • Yellow Balls

    Joe Hoggat formerly of Canyon highschool has accepted the job. The final 3 candidates were Hoggat, Bonilla and Romano

  • eye in the sky

    Most coaches are only as good as the talent they have. Coach Nieto is a very successful coach. We’ll see what kind of talent he inherits/recruits over the next several seasons. Damien should do well in the Baseline league. They will probably fare like Glendora did while they were over there. Football will be painful. Basketball will not do much better. Baseball should win.

    • Stealthyrobert

      Give me a high school coach who wins with what he gets is a good coach. The ones who recruits don’t develop kids they bring players in and most times rolls the balls out on the field. How difficult is that???

      • eye in the sky

        What you described does not exist in the reality of high school sports. Every coach recruits in their own way, even public schools. Every school has sports parents who recruit. I have current personal experience with that (I will not elaborate other than to say my son has had more public than private school requests). To refute that means you are out of touch. Also kids will want to go to a program that does well. I know, this past season, one local public high school freshman baseball team had 8 out of district kids on their roster including one from the San Fernando Valley.

        • Stealthyrobert

          Correct I see you kinda of agree but a blind guy can win with those teams your missing the point. Go look at John Romano at Nogales . Thats a coach not one who assembles talent and goes to all the top tournaments. I cant go to the Boras because I dont have the talent is what a lot of coaches say and its true. Amat plays in those events because of the talent they get and are able to compete. Amat won the Hard 9 or National Classic with Ken K as well he was a good coach. Nieto is a good coach but they wont win without talent. Put those guys at Nogales or La Puente and a have to grind it out every year not going to happen. A good coach can only go as far as his talent takes him not the other way around. So as long as you go all over the SGV and get the talent you will win. Winnng in high school is 99 % talent There are many good coaches out there it takes talent as well as being in a very friendly league and division. If Amat was to have played in D1 I can tell you the outcome would have not been 4 championships in 8 years and thats a guarantee. Lastly how many chapionships you think Amat football would win playing D5 or D4 or D3 probably along the lines of 4 in 8 years as well. Amat has had the easiest road to success since Nieto arrived and that why what happened has happened. like one other guy stated here it was a perfect storrm for NIeto when he arrived.

          • FredJ

            Talent follows coaches and programs, which is why Nieto is so successful. Parents WANT their kids to play for him and WANT the connections it comes with.

          • Sports watcher

            He’s rumored to be bringing in his SS and another IF player. So by this statement and all the rumors coming to fruition, I expect a few changes in the lineup and on the field. I also expect a few angry parents. Time will tell. I’m glad Al Leyva is history and Andy is at Damien now. It will take some time to get the program up and running smoothly. Good Luck Spartans!

          • Stealthyrobert

            That is until the get there and find out what rally goes on>

      • apachejoe

        I’d much rather have my kid play for Henley at Glendora any day!!! Don’t retire Dan atleast not for 7 more years…

  • TheCloser

    Good luck to Coach Nieto and all his rings at Damien! All I can say is screw all these haters…….as they say…”It’s lonely at the TOP”

    • StatMan

      Well said!