After a long, exhaustive search, Damien has hired Orange Lutheran baseball assistant coach AJ LaMonda as his new head coach, the school announced on Thursday.
LaMonda will replace Andy Nieto, who resigned in July after coaching the Spartans for seven seasons and leading them to three Baseline League titles and a semifinal in the CIF Southern Section. Nieto was recently appointed head coach at La Salle.
LaMonda, who played baseball in college at Loyola Marymount University, has spent the past six years as an assistant coach at Orange Lutheran. LaMonda previously spent three years as an assistant coach at Servite.
At Servite, LaMonda also served as a trainer for USA Baseball with a focus on player development and scouting.
“We are excited to welcome coach LaMonda to Damien as our next baseball coach,” said Damien Athletic Director Jeff Grant. “Damien Baseball has a proud history of excellence, and coach LaMonda is a perfect fit to maintain that tradition. AJ’s extensive baseball knowledge and background will be a huge resource for our program. We are confident that Damien Baseball is positioned for continued success under the leadership of coach LaMonda. ”
LaMonda met Damien’s baseball players and school staff on Thursday afternoon. He is not a teacher at the school at this time, but the plan is for him to be on campus in the foreseeable future.
La Monda is currently a teacher at St. John Bosco and was briefly with the Braves’ coaching staff before accepting the position at Damien.
“What a wonderful opportunity to take over a great program with the history and tradition they have at Damien,” said LaMonda. “I have always loved working with young men to not only become better baseball players, but also be better people. I can not wait to get started. ”
While at Orange Lutheran, LaMonda was part of teams playing in the competitive Trinity League. The Lancers have been considered among the best in Southern California year in and year out. LaMonda spent a lot of his time working with hitters, but was also looking for ways to grow in general as a coach.
LaMonda said that working with Orange Lutheran head coach Eric Borba helped prepare him for his first head coach opportunity.
“I learned so much from coach Borba,” LaMonda said. “He guided me, taught me and gave me the freedom to train players with a lot of confidence.
“And there are all kinds of benefits and things. The schedule we played, the players you have, the playoffs and just playing good teams as often as we all, helped prepare me for this.
During the spring, LaMonda was named general manager of the Peninsula Oilers, a summer baseball club for college games in the Alaskan Baseball League. LaMonda said he will remain in that role. The Alaska Summer League runs through June and July.