Past College World Series-winning Waves baseball skipper heading to Hall of Fame

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Then Pepperdine baseball head coach Andy Lopez, seen here accepting the NCAA national championship trophy after the Waves won the 1992 College World Series, will be inducted into the College Baseball Hall of Fame in February. Photo from Pepperdine Athletic Communications.

Andy Lopez was named Coach of the Year by Collegiate Baseball and Baseball America in the 1992 title season

Former Pepperdine Waves baseball head coach Andy Lopez, who guided the Waves to a national title three decades ago, will be inducted into the College Baseball Hall of Fame in February.

Lopez, Pepperdine’s coach for six seasons, is one of 10 standouts on the diamond that are part of hall’s Class of 2022. They will be honored during the College Baseball Night of Champions in Omaha, Nebraska, on Feb. 2-3.

Lopez led Pepperdine to the College World Series crown in 1992. The Waves went 48-11-1 that season, including a 8-1 record in the postseason.

Pepperdine defeated Cal State Fullerton in Omaha 3-2 to win the program’s first and only NCAA championship. Lopez was named the National Coach of the Year by Collegiate Baseball and Baseball America that season. The skipper would receive the honor twice more. 

He coached the Waves from 1989 to 1994. In his first season in the Pepperdine dugout, Lopez led the team to a 41-19-1 record and made the NCAA postseason for the first of four times wearing a Waves uniform. Pepperdine went 41-17-1 in 1991, the season before the NCAA title win. Lopez coached the Waves to an overall 241-107-3 record in his years in Malibu. 

The other Hall of Fame inductees are former Brown infielder and 1974 Sporting News College Baseball Player of the Year Bill Almon; Southern University head coach Roger Cador; former Southern University standout infielder Rickie Weeks, who played for Cador and was the Player of the Year in 2003; former Michigan All-American and Big Ten Player of the Year Casey Close; two-time NAIA National Championship coach Ken Dugan of Lipscomb; eight-time College World Series umpire Jim Garman; Condredge Holloway, the first Black member of the University of Tennessee baseball program; Southern California All-American and Mount San Antonio College head coach Art Mazmanian; and 1988 NCAA Division III Player of the Year Ken Ritter from North Central College.

National College Baseball Hall of Fame President and CEO Mike Gustafson said in the Dec. 21 press release that the 2022 class checks all the boxes. 

“With national players of the year from various levels of college baseball to coaching legends and a pioneer, it is an accomplished list,” he said. 

Lopez, who retired in 2015, also coached at Florida and Arizona. He coached Arizona to the NCAA championship three years before he retired. He is one of the most successful college baseball coaches ever and compiled a record of 1,177-742-7. Lopez directed teams to five College World Series appearances and reached the postseason in 17 of his 26 seasons as a head coach. He also won National Coach of the Year honors in 1996 and 2012 and is a nine-time conference Coach of the Year.

Lopez coached Florida for seven years after he left Pepperdine. He then coached Arizona for 14 seasons. 

Lopez played college baseball at UCLA and afterward was drafted by the Detroit Tigers in the amateur draft, but he elected to complete his college studies and go into coaching. 

Lopez coached at L.A. Harbor Community College and at Mira Costa High School in Manhattan Beach before being hired at CSU Dominguez Hills in 1983. He led the team to league titles in 1986 and 1987 and to the Division II College World Series two years before he went to Pepperdine.