Former Miami assistant coach and recruiting coordinator Norberto Lopez, current Milwaukee Brewer minor league coach and longtime Coastal Carolina pitching coach Drew Thomas and current UCF baseball assistant Ted Tom comprise new UCF head coach Rich Wallace's baseball coaching staff.
Lopez heads to Orlando following eight years on the Canes' staff. Thomas spent 16 years with Coastal Carolina--including a 2016 College World Series title--then worked as pitching coach for Brewers affiliate Wisconsin Timber Rattlers of the Midwest League in 2023 after a season in the same role with the franchise's Carolina Mudcats team in the Carolina League in 2022. Tom has been a UCF assistant coach since the 2018 season.
"I'm thrilled about the composition of our staff and our ability to make it happen in quick fashion," says Wallace. "Norberto, Drew and Ted all bring excellent skill sets to our program, and they'll give us the ability to hit the ground running as we put the pieces in place to head into the Big 12 Conference."
Lopez joined the Miami baseball program prior to the 2016 season, working with the Canes' hitters and catchers, and adding responsibilities as recruiting coordinator after the 2018 campaign. Miami made NCAA Championship appearances in five of his seasons in Coral Gables, including each of the last three years after an ACC regular-season crown and CWS appearance in 2016. The Canes played host to NCAA regionals in both 2022 and 2023.
The 2019 season marked the first with Lopez as Miami's hitting coach and the Canes responded with an ACC-best 85 home runs. First baseman Alex Toral smashed a conference-leading 24 home runs that ranked third in the nation.
Among his star pupils is catcher Adrian Del Castillo, selected in the second round of the 2021 MLB Draft by the Arizona Diamondbacks. In 2016, junior catcher Zack Collins became the first Hurricane in program history to win the Johnny Bench Award as the nation's top collegiate catcher and was selected No. 10 overall by the Chicago White Sox in the 2016 MLB draft.
From Hialeah, Florida, Lopez played collegiately at Broward College (Davie Florida) and Nova Southeastern (Fort Lauderdale, Florida). Drafted by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in 1999, he spent three years in the organization. He served on the Texas-Pan American coaching staff from 2009-15 and was promoted to associate head coach prior to the 2015 season. Lopez was an assistant coach for Florida Atlantic where he helped the Owls compile a .341 batting average with 93 home runs in 2007--and a .321 batting average with 99 home runs in 2008.
Lopez spent two years at Broward Community College from 2004-06 when he led the team to a third-place finish at the 2006 National Junior College Athletic Association World Series. Serving as the hitting and catching coach, Lopez saw his team hit .301 and set the home run record at the state tournament.
In addition to the 2016 CWS crown, Thomas' Coastal Carolina coaching resume includes 11 NCAA Championship regional appearances, three super regionals, nine conference regular-season championships and nine conference championship tournament titles.
His pitching staffs finished among the NCAA top 40 in ERA eight times, including three top-10 finishes (10th in 2009, eighth in 2010, third in 2012). Coastal ranked among the NCAA top 15 in fewest hits allowed per nine innings four times (12th in 2009 and 2011, seventh in 2010, eighth in 2012). His teams led the conference in ERA six times (2007, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2016), strikeouts seven times (2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2016, 2018, 2019) and saves five times (2008, 2009, 2012, 2013, 2016).
His work helped produce 13 Major League Baseball draft picks, including current Major Leaguer Keith Hessler, fifth-rounder Pete Andrelczyk, fifth-rounder Cody Wheeler, second-rounder Anthony Meo, fourth-rounder Josh Conway, 10th rounder Anthony Veneziano and third-rounder Zach McCambley.
He mentored eight All-Americans (Bobby Gagg in 2007, Cody Wheeler in 2009 and 2010, Nick McCully in 2009, Anthony Meo in 2010, Matt Rein in 2011, Aaron Burke in 2012, Andrew Beckwith in 2016 and Alex Cunningham in 2017). He coached the conference pitcher of the year six times (Bobby Gagg in 2007, Cody Wheeler in 2009, Anthony Meo in 2010, Matt Rein in 2011, Aaron Burke in 2012, Andrew Beckwith in 2016).
In 2016 when Coastal Carolina won the CWS, Thomas' pitching staff led by Andrew Beckwith and first-team All-American Mike Morrison paced the Chants. Beckwith was named the CWS Most Outstanding Player as well as the Big South's Howard Bagwell Male Athlete of the Year and Big South Pitcher of the Year. He led the NCAA in wins (15, a Coastal record) and he ranked 16th in the NCAA with a 1.85 ERA.
Thomas came to Coastal Carolina from IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, where he had worked since 2003. He was the roving pitching instructor for the Florida Collegiate Instructional League and also was the pitching coach for the Pendleton Academy. From 2001-02, Thomas was a private pitching instructor in Springfield, Illinois, and head coach of the Mason County Legion in Springfield.
Thomas pitched in the San Diego Padres organization in 1998-99 and played for the Canton Crocodiles of the Frontier League in 1999-2000. He was the 2000 Frontier League Relief Pitcher of the Year, a Frontier League All-Star and a second-team Baseball America All-Independent team member.
Tom was promoted to UCF hitting coach and recruiting coordinator in August 2019 after first being hired as an assistant coach in July 2017. In his first two years with the Knights, Tom coached the outfielders, served as the first base coach, led the baserunning program and assisted with the hitters.
In 2023, Tom led a UCF offense that set multiple program records, including belting 109 home runs to shatter the American Athletic Conference mark. The Knights finished the season ranked No. 11 nationally in home runs. For the second consecutive year, three Knights hit above .319, tying the most in a single season over the last 10 years. Tom saw Ben McCabe through his highest offensive production in his five seasons as a Knight, resulting in All-America honors from Collegiate Baseball and the NCBWA. Two hitters were named to the AAC all-conference first team in McCabe and Andrew Sundean, while Drew Faurot was a unanimous selection to the all-conference freshman team.
Prior to arriving in Orlando, Tom spent three seasons at Cincinnati—initially as director of baseball operations. After one season he was promoted to assistant coach and assisted in recruiting multiple players who helped win the 2019 American Athletic Conference tournament and played in an NCAA regional.
Tom joined Cincinnati after seven seasons as head coach at his alma mater, Shawnee State University, where he compiled a record of 203-193. He was named 2010 conference coach of the year and developed two conference player of the year selections (catcher Philip Butler in 2011, outfielder Danny Gesick in 2010).
In 2011, the Bears went undefeated in the conference tournament to advance to the NAIA opening round, its first postseason assignment in 11 years. Butler was named to the NAIA All-America first team. The 2010 team became the first in school history to win the American Mideast Conference regular-season championship, while Tom earned AMC Coach of the Year honors.
Tom spent 2007 as outfield instructor at IMG Baseball Academies in Bradenton, Florida, where he also was a head coach in the Florida Collegiate Instructional League. Tom spent the 2005 and 2006 seasons as the volunteer assistant coach at Indiana—handling outfield play, coaching first base and assisting with the hitters. During this time, he earned his master's degree in athletic administration.
He was a red-shirt member of the 2000 Shawnee State team that finished fifth in the NAIA World Series, also earning All-AMC honors.
Lopez graduated from Nova Southeastern University with a bachelor's degree in business administration in 1999. In 2006, he earned a master's in exceptional student education from Nova Southeastern. Thomas graduated from Illinois State University, where he earned a degree in history. Tom graduated from Shawnee State in 2004 with a degree in sport management with minors in business and sport coaching.