At The Diamond, we strongly believe that our instructors are the best in Northern Indiana. What separates us from the competition is the level of experience each of our instructors has obtained not through classes or watching the game, but playing, instructing and coaching. They have LIVED the game and are eager to share that knowledge and experience with players of all ages and skill levels.
Owner/Senior Baseball Instructor/Director of Player Development
Coach Lopez has a long and involved history in baseball. Originally from the Dominican Republic, he was signed by the Minnesota Twins organization in 1996 and came to the US to play the game he loves. During his four years in the Twins organization, Coach Lopez played two years here in Fort Wayne for the Wizards, now the Tin Caps. He then moved on and played with the Fort Myers Miracle.
From 2000-2003, Coach Lopez played independent professional baseball for teams such as the Fort Worth Cats, Rio Grande Valley Whitewings and the San Angelo Colts. During those years he was a member of the Texas-Louisiana League All-Star Team twice, CBL Batting Champion in 2002, and was a member of the Texas Louisiana League Championship Team with the Whitewings.Coach Lopez has been offering private instruction since 2000 and coaching summer travel teams since 2004. He is currently the recruiter and Director of Player Development for the Fort Wayne Cubs, a not-for-profit travel ball organization. The Cubs have had great successes and continue to grow each year under his direction. There is no instructor or coach more dedicated to his studentâ€™s training in the area for hitting and fielding.
Senior Softball Instructor
Coach McCoy is unsurpassed in his ability to develop softball player's skills and abilities. He has a long history in teaching and coaching the game. Nine years were spent as the head coach for Ayersville High School in Ohio, where he is originally from. During his time there, the softball program dominated the state of Ohio pulling in three state championships and one state runner- up title.
From 2000 to 2005, Coach McCoy lead a travel team based out of Toledo, OH and continues to coach travel teams at this time. He served as the assistant coach for Saint Francis University in Fort Wayne from 2007-2015. Most recently he has accepted a Head Coaching position with Wright State University Lake Campus. In addition to this big move, Coach McCoy has accepted a position as Assistant State Director for the USFA! We are very excited and so proud of Coach McCoy! He has worked very hard in the softball community and we wish him continued success!
Coach McCoy is a member of the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) and is a 2- Star Master Coach in the 4-Star program. He brings intense, focused instruction and a winning personality to the team. His number one priority is to give his students the skills to succeed.
JAVIER De JESUS
Senior Pitching Instructor
Coach DeJesus was born in Ponce, Puerto Rico where he learned to love the game of baseball. His parents moved to Beaumont, TX where he had a lucrative high school career and earned a scholarship to the University of Louisiana-Lafayette in 1989.
With a 23-1 record, four All-American Teams and Sun Belt Co-Pitcher of the Year award, he captured the attention of the Minnesota Twins who drafted him in 1992. He played 10 years in the minors with a record of 54-33 and a 3.99 ERA. He retired in 2001.
For the past 10 years, Coach DeJesus has been offering personal instruction specializing in pitching and coaches summer travel ball.
Senior Pitching Instructor
Graduated from Bishop Luers High School in 1981, and went on to become a 4 year letterman at Ball State University. Mike signed in the 17th round of the 1985 draft with the Cincinnati Reds. Mike made it to the major Leagues with the Reds in 1989.
He was traded to the Pirates at the end of spring training in 1990, and pitched for them in the majors at the beginning of that season. He finished his career with Kansas City, and retired from professional Baseball in 1993. Mike also played in Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, and Taiwan.
He has been teaching pitching professionally since 1999, and has helped many of his students realize their dream of playing baseball in college.
Mike continues to play amateur baseball in the 18 and over league here in Fort Wayne.
LEONEL 'VILO' VILORIO
Senior Baseball Instructor
Coach Vilo has loved and played baseball since he was a very young man. In 1996 he was signed by the Minnesota Twins along with Coach Lopez. Coach Vilo played for them 1996-1999. After that, he became very involved in travel baseball teams in the Fort Myers, Florida area. He has been coaching travel teams for the past 15 years. His other area of great expertise is in individual instruction. He has been giving personal lessons in hitting and fielding for 10 years and is a valuable asset to our team!
Senior Pitching Instructor
Coach Birely began his collegiate baseball career at Central Arizona College where he played the 2002 and 2003 seasons under current Purdue Fort Wayne head coach Bobby Pierce. He helped CA to the 2002 Jr College National Championship. He then transferred to the U of New Orleans where he pitched the 2004 and 2005 seasons. Coach Birely currently holds the record for most appearanes in a season. After graduation in 2005, he pitched for the Mesa Miners in the IGBL.
Coach Birely has a long career in coaching with a focus on pitchers. He was assistant coach at Regis Jesuit High School for two seasons, helping the team advance to the 5A state quarterfinals in 2007. He Then moved on to Metro State College in Denver, CO to serve as pitching coach under head coach Bobby Pierce. While there they set school records for most wins in a season, most strikeouts and one pitcher hit the individual record for most wins in a season. Additionally, under his tutelage 6 pitchers were named to the All-Conference teams and one pitcher signed a professional contract. In 2009, Birely came to Fort Wayne to coach for the Purdue Mastadons where one of his pitchers was placed on the Pre-Season Wallace Award Watch List. Team pitchers improved the number of strikeouts, picked off 25 base runners and he personally helped the team maintain a 3.0 GPA or higher.
During his 12 seasons with the Mastadons as Pitching Coach and Recruitment Coordinator, they also had a 2010 Fireman of the Year award for best relief pitcher in the Prospect Collegiate Summer League, won the first conference series in program history and set a school record for most Division I wins in program history and had the first player signed to a professional contract. In 2011 the pitching staff finished 2nd in the nation for complete games, had an individual pitcher finish 2nd in the nation for individual complete games, two pitchers received Summit League Pitcher of the week honors and dropped their ERA by two full runs. 2012-2016 also proved fruitful with many notable achievements. Two starters logged more than 90 innings, closing pitcher Steve Danielak tied for second most sing season saves and fourth in single season victories (2012). ERA dropped by over 2 runs per game and opponent batting average dropped by 19 points, set a record for most saves (2013). Made program history by advancing for the first time ever to the Summit League Tournament, had the second most single season strikeouts with 315 and second most combined saves (2014). Advanced to the Summit League Championship game, had a team record 398 strikeouts, school record for most wins and save, had a player named as a Louisville Slugger Freshman All American and had a program strikeout record and another player set a single season record for save (2015). The biggest year by far was 2016 with the following accomplishments: all-time school record with 33 wins, earned second consecutive Summit League Championship Finals appearance, won 20 of their last 27 games making them one of the hottest in the country with a 12 game win streak! Individual players set records for most starts in a season and most appearances in a season. There were 5 Summit League All- Conference selections and 4 Summit League All-Tournament honorees AND pitcher Even Miller was drafted in the 22nd round by the San Diego Padres.
We are so pleased to have an instructor of this caliber join our team at The Diamond!