BLOCKBUSTER EXCLUSIVE: PLHS’ new coaching lineup likely to make opponents tremble
by Scott Hopkins
Published - 06/29/11 - 03:42 PM | 8799 views | 0 0 comments | 20 20 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Former big-league pitching legend David Wells, left, shakes hands with Pointer catcher Sean Stepina at last year’s naming ceremony for David Wells Field. Wells, a major league all-star, will coach the school’s pitchers next season.                           
Photo by Scott Hopkins I The Beacon
Former big-league pitching legend David Wells, left, shakes hands with Pointer catcher Sean Stepina at last year’s naming ceremony for David Wells Field. Wells, a major league all-star, will coach the school’s pitchers next season. Photo by Scott Hopkins I The Beacon
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The baseball coaching vacancy at Point Loma High School has been filled, and there will be some big names manning the dugout and bullpen at Dana Middle School next season.

Rock Academy head coach Jesse Nunez, a former professional player, will take the reins as the Pointers’ head coach.

And his assistants? One is a member of the San Diego Hall of Champions Hall of Fame and the other is a museum “coaching legend.”

For starters, PLHS Athletic Director John Murphy lassoed a new pitching coach — a guy by the name of David Wells. Yes, the former Pointer star and the ex-Padre and ex-Yankee widely viewed as one of the best left-handed pitchers in Major League Baseball.

And if that wasn’t enough, Rob Phillips, whose last Grossmont High teams won four consecutive CIF championships, will assist and mentor Nunez as an assistant coach.

“All three of these guys are local, and when we have this kind of talent right here in the community, we don’t need to look elsewhere,” Murphy said.

The major prep sports announcement is being made today (Thursday) by Murphy, who exclusively chose The Peninsula Beacon to release the news first “because of the great coverage provided to Point Loma High School over the years.”

Wells, clearly the biggest name of the three, is no stranger to Peninsula residents.

A Pointer alum from the class of 1982, Wells rose from the streets of Ocean Beach to major league stardom.

Wells, now 48, was named 1982 CIF Player of the Year. So dominant was the southpaw that a 30-year veteran opposing prep coach said, “It was an education watching (Wells) pitch.”

Nicknamed “Boomer,” Wells, who retired in 2007, is eager to work with young Pointer pitchers after ending a lengthy major league career that included his famous perfect game in 1998 while pitching for the Yankees.

He was elected to the Hall of Champions Hall of Fame as a near-unanimous first-ballot choice in 2010.

The Pointers’ baseball field at Dana Middle School was named for Wells in a ceremony before the 2010 prep season. Current Pointer players have batted against him and picked up tips from Wells, who attends the team’s annual alumni game preceding season openers.

“David has a commitment to work with the Yankees pitchers for a few weeks, but will be available the rest of the season,” Murphy said. “I’m so excited to have him working with our kids like this.”

Phillips, named as a member of the San Diego Hall of Champions “Coaching Legends” in 2009, lives in Ocean Beach and is eager to return to the diamond after retiring from Grossmont in 2008. His Foothillers career finished with six CIF titles including four consecutive in 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008, an incredible feat.

Winner of numerous “Coach of the Year” accolades, Phillips’ hire gives the team veteran experience and balance that should help elevate a corps of talented young returning players to higher levels. His knowledge is expected to provide outstanding instruction to all players.

“We are thrilled to bring a coach with Rob’s reputation and background to our school,” Murphy said. “He adds additional prestige to our program in the county and knows college coaches across the United States.”

Phillips and Wells will join Nunez to form a coaching trio likely unmatched in Southern California. Currently, Nunez, holder of a teaching certificate from another state, is teaching junior and senior high history at The Rock Academy and working to complete requirements for a California credential.

“I look for life-skills first, a person who really relates to kids,” Murphy said, “and Jesse brings that. I’m really thrilled to have him. He is already well-known in the community, and we hope to eventually get him on staff.”

Nunez coached his Rock baseball team to a 20-8 overall record (8-0, first place in the CIF Division V Frontier League) in 2011. The young team featured nine freshmen and four sophomores. It is unknown if any of those players will transfer to PLHS to continue playing under his leadership.

He is currently teaching junior and senior high history and science at Rock Academy. While working on a masters degree at SDSU, Nunez is also completing requirements for a California teaching credential. Meanwhile, he is teaching with a license from another state.

Nunez is a San Diego native who played baseball and football at Horizon High before attending Nyack College in New York, a private evangelical school. He later played professional baseball, rising to the AA level before his playing career ended.

Most other coaches in the PLHS baseball program are also expected to return next year, Murphy said.

The new coaches will meet soon with players and be introduced to parents during an evening event at a booster’s home.

The new coaches come to PLHS at a time when Murphy, working with school and community leaders, is attempting to renovate the Correia Middle School field to include an improved freshman AAU team baseball field. Also, he is assisting baseball program boosters in creating a plan to improve David Wells Field at Dana.

This project’s cost is estimated at $350,000.
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