Danny Lopaze enters his third season with the Michigan State baseball program as an assistant coach. Lopaze served as volunteer assistant coach the past two seasons before being promoted to full-time status in the summer of 2007. Prior to arriving in East Lansing, he held a coaching position in the Coastal Plain Summer Baseball League for two years.
As an assistant for the Green and White, Lopaze works specifically with the outfielders, first basemen and hitters. He also spearheads the Spartans' junior college recruting efforts as the junior college recruiting coordinator.
While working with MSU's outfielders last season, Lopaze mentored freshman Chris Roberts, who batted .322 and was named a Freshman All-America by Ping Baseball. In his first season, Lopaze tutored outfielder Ryan Basham, a first team All-Big Ten selection who was drafted in the 29th round by the Toronto Blue Jays. Lopaze also helped develop All-Big Ten infielder Steve Gerstenberger in his first season at first base, where he posted a .991 fielding percentage that season and his 406 putouts were the most in MSU single-season history.
"Danny is a young and energetic coach who possesses the desire to be the best in everything he does, head coach David Grewe said. "His future is bright. He has a great attitude, developed into a great camp director and he is maturing into a great evaluator of talent."
A Lakeridge, Va., native, Lopaze attended Potomac Senior High School where he was drafted in the 16th round by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in the 1999 Amateur Baseball Draft. Lopaze opted to turn down the Devil Rays and attend Virginia Commonwealth University. As a freshman, he earned Colonial Athletic Association's Rookie of the Year and Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball Freshman All-America honors.
While playing at VCU, Lopaze was a member of the 2000 Yarmouth Dennis Red Sox in the Cape Cod Baseball League. In four years at VCU, he led the Rams to three NCAA Regional tournament appearances (LSU, South Carolina and N.C. State). Lopaze hit one of five Ram home runs on Championship Sunday to defeat LSU and force a game two, which had never been accomplished during Skip Bertman's reign in Baton Rouge. In Lopaze's senior year (2003), he led the Rams to an all-time high in victories with 46.
Lopaze was drafted and signed by the Chicago Cubs in the 40th round of the 2003 Amateur Baseball Draft. He spent a season playing professional baseball with the Cubs organization in Boise, Idaho, and Lansing, Mich., assisting Lansing to a Midwest League Championship in 2003.
From 2003-05, Lopaze served as an assistant general manager and assistant coach for the Petersburg Generals. In 2005, he moved into an assistant coaching position, working with the hitters and infielders.
Lopaze graduated from Virginia Commonwealth in 2004 with a degree in sports management/parks and recreation. He is engaged to Lisa Wilson.
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