Coach Perez is the Head Baseball Coach at St. Thomas University. When Perez was hired in the fall of 2008 as STU’s baseball coach, he expressed a clear vision for the future of the Bobcat Baseball Program. The goal was to assemble an excellent coaching staff, recruit quality student-athletes, and prepare the team to perform at their highest level. The baseball program prepares each season with its sights set on winning The Sun Conference Title and competing in the postseason at the NAIA College World Series.
In 2018 Perez was selected as an Assistant Coach for the USA Collegiate National Team. Coach Perez was part of a coaching staff that included, Manager Paul Mainier (LSU Head Coach), Jim Hendry (Assistant to Brian Cashman – New York Yankees), Brian O’Connor (Head Coach, University of Virginia), and Cliff Godwin (Head Coach, East Carolina University). During the summer tour, the USA Collegiate National Team went 12-3 with series wins over Chinese Taipei, Japan, and Cuba.
Through hard work and determination, the STU baseball program has qualified for the NAIA Opening Round of the World Series in the 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2016 2017, and 2018 seasons. In 2015, Perez led the Bobcats to an even higher level as STU finished runner up at the NAIA World Series for the first time in school history.
In 2017, St. Thomas University made an appearance in The Sun Conference Tournament for the ninth consecutive season. Along with making the conference postseason, the Bobcats were selected for the NAIA National Tournament Opening Round for the third consecutive season, the sixth time in program history. In 2018 the St. Thomas Baseball Team made history once again. The 2018 Bobcats finished with a record of 56 wins and 9 losses which was the best overall record the university baseball program has ever had. They made the NAIA College World Series for the 5th time and broke the all-time regular season record with a 49-5 record as well as the highest regular season winning percentage ever. The Bobcats have placed 12 players in professional baseball in the last six seasons.
Under the guidance of Perez, the Bobcats defeated host Georgia Gwinnett in the 2015 NAIA Opening Round to qualify for the NAIA World Series for the fifth time in school history. At the NAIA World Series, the Bobcats staved off elimination four times in the ten-team double elimination tournament to earn a spot in the NAIA World Series Championship Game for the first time. The Bobcats fell to host Lewis-Clark State 10-7 in the championship and finished the year ranked no. 2 in the nation in the final NAIA Coaches Poll. Five Bobcats were named to the All-World Series team and outfielder Jerry Downs, the highest selected NAIA position player in the 2015 Major League Baseball Draft, was drafted in the 15th round by the Boston Red Sox.
In the 2017 season, Perez earned his 300th career win as the head coach at St. Thomas when the team traveled to USCB for a three-game weekend series. The Bobcats lost the first game of the series but swept the double-header, which eclipsed Perez to his 301st win. Overall, his record at STU after the 2017 season closed out at 313-213 (.595 winning percentage).
In 2012 the baseball program had a breakout season. The team won 45 games and had a .763 winning percentage. That ranks as the fourth highest winning percentage in school history. The program also finished ranked 15th in the nation and won The Sun Conference Tournament for the first time in school history.
Before coming to St. Thomas, Perez was the head coach at Gulliver Prep and South Dade Senior for three seasons each. During his high school coaching career, Perez accumulated a record of 80-54. He led his teams to two Regional Final appearances and in 2007, participated in the 3A Final Four State Tournament with the Gulliver Prep Raiders.
Perez has been around baseball his entire life. As a player he was fortunate to be involved in both collegiate and professional baseball. Perez graduated from Rollins College in 1993 where he was a four-year letter winner. At Rollins, he participated in two regional tournaments, played on the only team in school history to be ranked #1 in the country, and was part of the squad that beat both the University of Miami and University of Florida in the same season. After college, Perez began his professional playing career by signing as a free agent with the St. Paul Saints of the Northern League. From there, he played another couple of seasons with two other professional organizations.
Perez began his coaching career in 1996 as an assistant at Kean University (a nationally ranked Division III school in New Jersey). His main responsibilities included developing the catchers and hitters. In 1998, the program participated in their first regional appearance in 25 years. In 1999, Perez was hired as an Assistant Coach by Manny Mantrana at St. Thomas University. In the year 2000, St. Thomas compiled a 51-16 record, won the Florida Sun Conference Championship and participated in the NAIA College World Series.
Coach Perez received his Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership in May, 2012 from St. Thomas University. Perez resides in Kendall with his wife, Mitzie and two daughters, Mia (18) and Jenna (11).
Coach Gonzalez has been coaching Baseball throughout the South Florida community the last 16 years. A graduate of La Salle High School, he played Basketball for Coach Rick Cruz and also Baseball for Coach Oscar Benitez. He won Athlete of the Year his Senior Year, and immediately began coaching youth baseball in Miami, while attending Florida International University after his playing career concluded. He has a degree in Physical Education/Sports Management from FIU and recently obtained his Master’s Degree from Barry University in Educational Leadership.
Gonzalez developed and managed the South Florida Snappers Baseball Academy, and had much success in the Travel Baseball circuit. Many high level players joined the Snappers, whom would later go on to be excellent high school and even college baseball players, including Chicago Cubs Outfielder Albert Almora. For about 3-4 years, in the mid 2000’s, the Snappers were one of the top Travel Teams in South Florida, qualifying for many top national championship tournaments. “I was blessed with instant success when Travel Ball began taking off, due to a great and talented group of players that stayed loyal to me and our mission of development while competing against the best. We had great support from all the parents and our group stayed together just about until they entered high school.”
While maintaining his Academy and Travel Teams, Coach Gonzalez then began his high school coaching career in 2007 at Gulliver Prep where he assisted with the hitters and outfielders, as well as coaching the middle school team. His first year, Gulliver reached the State Championship Final 4, under Head Coach Jorge Perez. While at Gulliver he learned the ropes from other great coaches, included Coach Perez and current Gulliver Coach Manny Crespo, who played at UM and professionally for the San Diego Padres. “I learned so much in 3 years while at Gulliver, as I was always surrounded by great baseball coaches and players.”
After a great 3 years at Gulliver, Gonzalez was hired as a teacher and Head Baseball Coach at Doral Academy in 2010. He ran the program there and once again had immediate success, bringing the Baseball rich community of Doral together rather quickly. In 2012, the Baseball team won the school’s first ever district championship in any Sport during its’ short 15 year existence. Seven out of nine graduating seniors went on to play College Baseball, including four players to NCAA Division 1 schools. From 2010-2013, Doral played one of the toughest schedules in the county, as Gonzalez’s teams never backed down from the top opponents. The 3 years he was head coach, his teams always finished above .500 and his hitters with an average of over .325 collectively as a unit. After the 2013 high school season, Alejandro Juvier was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles, whom Gonzalez mentored while at Doral Academy for 4 years. “I pride myself in giving confidence to each of my players, making sure they never doubt themselves and their abilities. We prioritized the finer details and fundamentals of the game routinely in practice, which made the games much easier and fun to be a part of. Winning came through preparation and perseverance.”
In 2013, Gonzalez decided to move north closer to home and his new family. He moved on to Mater Lakes Academy, where he worked as a PE Teacher, Assistant Baseball Coach, and also Assistant Athletic Director for the school. He was at Mater Lakes for 6 years, and also with Baseline Baseball and Coach Jorge Perez out of St. Thomas University. Recently in 2019, Coach Gonzalez accepted a Teaching and the Baseball Head Coaching job at the prestigious Westminster Academy in Fort Lauderdale. Westminster Academy is a staple throughout the South Florida baseball community, with a rich tradition and excellent facility. Coach Gonzalez is very excited for the future and the new challenge God has put in front of him.
Ernie resides in Plantation with his wife Laurie, daughter Aly, son Julian, and baby Justin. He loves spending time with his family, and coaching Baseball.
A St. Thomas University Alum and current graduate student, Michelle Murch is our new Media Relations Coordinator for Baseline Baseball. After receiving her Business of Bachelor's Administration degree in Sports Administration in merely three years, Murch continued her education at St. Thomas and is in pursuit of her Master's of Science degree in Sports Administration. She played four years with the Bobcats varsity softball program and was the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee President for two years.
Among receiving numerous awards and nominations through the conference and national level, she will be a great asset to Baseline. Murch is a Miami native, attended American Senior High School, and has worked closely with the Sports Information Director and Athletic Director. This helped her gain experience with college athletics and how to handle the media and create content. She has joined the Baseline Staff to help boost our media profiles, create scouting videos, and promote our program in the evolutionary social media culture.