Paul Coppes, Azusa Pacific University
Paul Coppes had a solid playing career behind the plate which began at Rowland High School (Rowland Heights, CA) and continued at Azusa Pacific University (Azusa, CA), where he was a 2-time All-Conference and All-American catcher. During his Junior Year, Paul committed zero errors while hitting .415, to earn 1st Team All-America Catcher.
Paul, like Justin Duarte, was a catching disciple of his position coach, Scott Winterburn. Years of training and being challenged allowed Paul to become a master of the position. Paul was able to take his skills and play two years of minor league baseball, before focusing on coaching.
Paul’s coaching career began and Chaffey Community College. After Chaffey, Paul spent 3 years coaching at Azusa Pacific. In the summers of 1999 and 2000, Paul was the pitching coach for the Chatman A’s (now Chatman Anglers) under Cape Cod League Hall of Fame manager, John Schiffner, for those two seasons, Paul’s pitching staff led the Cape Cod League in ERA, Strikeouts, walks allowed and Saves. He was blessed to work with many future big leaguers and the “Cape Cod League Pitcher of the Year”.
Paul is a full-time special education teacher Capistrano Unified School District. In 2012, he earned Capistrano Unified School District Middle School Teacher of the Year and a Semi-Finalist for Orange County Teacher of the Year. Coach Coppes had a strong run for 16 years as the director for the Mark Creese School of Baseball in Orange County. He has recently taken up a new endeavor with TC Baseball, an up and coming travel ball organization based out of Mission Viejo. Paul will continue to host camps as the Director of NLCA’s Orange County Division.
Coach Esquer has filled some huge shoes as a few NLCA instructors have moved away to coach college baseball. He brings a wealth of experience and depth to a coaching staff that prides itself on connecting with catchers. Tony was a standout catcher locally out of Whittier Christian High School and received a scholarship to play at local Div. II power Cal Poly Pomona where he was CCAA All-Conference in 2005-2006 and received NCAA Div. II West Region Honors in 2006. Tony contributed substantially for the Broncos before being drafted in the 24th round by the Cincinnati Reds. Tony went on to play three seasons of affiliated baseball with the Reds and he concluded his final two seasons in the Northern Independent League. Tony, was an assistant and head baseball coach for a pair of years at Ontario Christian High School, and now serves as a teacher and coach at nearby Nogales High School.
Coach Anj has been an outstanding addition to our instructors. He excels with demonstrating skills, communicating instruction, and connecting with our catchers both young and old. He played his collegiate baseball at Biola University, a Div. II program in southern California. He was a converted catcher coming into his junior season and he brings this unique perspective that all aspiring catchers can learn from.
Mark is another NLCA instructor who has continued to develop as a college coach. His journey with NLCA began in the very first class of students that began training in the academy back in 2010. As a three-year starter at nearby Bonita High School, Mark worked without ceasing at his craft behind the dish. Lindsay then went on to star at Div. II San Francisco State where he started from 2012–15. He earned All-CCAA honors for four consecutive years and was the first Gator to win the conference’s Freshman of the Year award. A two-time San Francisco State Male Athlete of the Year recipient, Lindsay left the program with a career .310 batting average and as the Gators’ all-time leader in hits (213), at-bats (688), and games played (192). He also ranks in the school’s career top 10 in walks and RBI’s. Lindsay played professionally for a pair of seasons with the San Rafael Pacifics of the independent Pacific Association. He went on to coach at Div. III schools such as the Univ. of La Verne (2016), Pomona Pitzer (2017-2018) and he spent the 2019 season taking on a large role in the coaching staff at Div. II Biola University. Coach Lindsay is still active coaching camps when his schedule is free, but he has since moved up north as an assistant coach for Dave Taylor at Chico St where he will continue to recruit and coach hitters and catchers.
Andy was first a part of NLCA as a student and has transitioned into a solid figure in the catching academy. He was a standout catcher a Don Lugo High school and began honing his skills and attending camps from 2012 through 2014. Andy moved on to play collegiately at Div. III program, University of La Verne, where he would train and join the coaching staff at selective camps as a guest instructor. Andy has since finished his college playing days and is another NLCA instructor who is developing his pedigree as a college coach. Andy is assisting at Rio Hondo Community College and has been an integral part of our staff since 2018.
Eric has been an integral part of our development of the Junior Division starting in January 2019,
Mario (Speedo) completed a 2-year tenure as the catching instructor at Mt. SAC. Speedo has been very active in coaching helping catapult the San Gabriel Valley Arsenal from 2010-20018. Most recently, Mario is building his own brand of baseball as he and his staff are getting the CA Armada off the ground starting in the fall of 2019. Mario played three years at Vanguard University in Costa Mesa after playing a season at Cerritos College. Mario has been working as an instructor with NLCA since early in 2013 and he continues to play a larger and larger role on the staff.
Coach Ochoa is once again back on the diamond, coaching with his childhood friend, and former NLCA instructor Mike Surina. They are teaming up to elevate and build their home high school baseball program, Chino High. He is one of NLCA’s lead instructors and one of the original 3 that started this program for catchers in 2010.
Javi has had previous coaching stints at Mt. San Antonio College, Diamond Bar HS, and Chino HS as a catching instructor. Javi has experience working with baseball players of all ages, as he has put in consistent time working multiple Creese Camps in Southern California since 2008 and has more recently been logging hours with The Baseball Factory, managing teams in their tournaments and serving as tournament scout and growing with his responsibilities. Javi was a standout at Chino HS and went on to earn a scholarship to catch at Azusa Pacific University where he concluded his playing career. Coach Ochoa brings extensive knowledge and creativity to our clinics and has been a fixture since the beginning of our catching camps.
Matt DeLeon joined us in the fall of 2014 and has been a steady fixture in our rotation of instructors. He came to us after finishing his playing career at Cal Baptist University. Coach Matt spent 2015-2019 coaching at southern California power, St. John Bosco. In the summer of 2019, Matt was hired as an assistant coach at Div. II San Francisco State. He continues to further his coaching career and has been a great fit for our crew over the years.
AJ Garbick- AJ is the current Varsity Head Coach at Upland High School. He has an extensive coaching career with stints at Damien, Colony High School, and Charter Oak High School. He had a solid catching career playing at Citrus College for the legendary Skip Claprod, before transferring to anchor the defense as the catcher at the University of La Verne.
We will also be having guest instructors who rotate clinics consistently. A few of these have come out to instruct at many of our clinics.
Rob Avila- Current Asst. Coach at UC San Diego and former Head Coach at Palm Beach Atlantic (NCAA Div. 2). Rob played professionally with the Philadelphia Phillies (AA level) after being drafted in the 1999 MLB Draft from The Masters’ College in Santa Clarita.
Joe Winterburn has been an outstanding addition to the mix of instructors with NLCA. Joe started his college career at UCSB and finished at Univ. of La Verne, where he earned All-Conference honors. He went on to play two seasons with the Boston Red Sox and has been a tremendous fit for NLCA the past few years.