Pointers’ head baseball coach resigns amid apparent tensions, controversy
by Scott Hopkins
May 15, 2013 | 5823 views | 0 0 comments | 28 28 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Jesse Nunez, Point Loma High varsity baseball head coach, resigned amid controversy this month after less than two seasons at the helm.                           Photo by Scott Hopkins I The Beacon
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The head coach of Point Loma High School’s baseball team resigned in early May in a rare move with three regular-season games and a possible CIF playoff schedule still to play.

Jesse Nunez, hired to guide the Pointer program less than two years ago, submitted a letter of resignation to school officials and also sent out an April 6 email announcing his departure to parents of players.

In a copy of that email obtained by The Peninsula Beacon, Nunez wrote: “I never expected to have to make this decision and I hoped to be a part of (the) PLHS baseball program for many years to come.”

Nunez’s short tenure was reportedly marked by conflicts with school officials, parents and players that eventually distracted from the team’s focus and eroded parental support, according to critics.

Under Nunez, the Pointers posted a 7-22 record in 2012 (3-9 in Western League) and were 10-11 (5-4 in league) this season after he coached his final game, a 6-2 home loss to Mission Bay on May 2.

“We thank coach Nunez for his work with our students and wish him and his family all the best,” said PLHS athletic director John Murphy.

Murphy met with varsity team members after receiving Nunez’s letter to inform them of their coach’s departure. He named varsity assistant coach Kyle Harvey as interim head coach through season’s end.

Harvey, a Pointer alum who graduated in 2005 with several years’ coaching experience at PLHS at the junior varsity level, is in his first year on the varsity staff. He has reportedly developed a good rapport with ballplayers and parents.

The team is scheduled to play its final regular season game May 16 at home against Madison. A CIF playoff berth remains a slim possibility for the Pointers.

While several parents said they were supportive of Nunez, many parents and players said they were neither shocked nor disappointed by his exit. After arriving at PLHS from his head coaching job at the Rock Academy, Nunez’ Pointer tenure has reportedly been marked by on- and off-field tensions and controversy.

Many observers said they feel this year’s team has underachieved, and critics point to six assistant coaches in the Pointer dugout as confusing and excessive. 

When Nunez reportedly failed to return calls and emails, parents said they increasingly went to Murphy with concerns, placing significant demands on his responsibility overseeing 800 athletes and 54 school teams. Murphy has been seen in recent weeks sitting in the Pointer dugout during games.

In at least one case, Nunez reportedly denied receiving a person’s emails, saying, “I think someone hacked my account.” 

Originally, Nunez was not considered to become the school’s new head coach when the previous coach resigned following the 2011 season.

A story in The Peninsula Beacon at the time details Murphy’s plan to have retired Grossmont High coach Rob Phillips, winner of numerous CIF titles and an Ocean Beach resident, take the team’s reins, mentoring Nunez for several years.

However, Phillips withdrew at the last minute, leaving Murphy to name Nunez as head coach.

“What’s next for me?” Nunez asked in his email to parents. “I will still be around in the baseball community operating So Cal Select” (a travel team for younger players).

Murphy expects to name a new coach for the Pointer program at season’s end.

Other PLHS coaching news

Murphy has named Pointer parent James Sakasegawa as the new girls’ volleyball coach. Sakasegawa, currently the boys’ volleyball coach, has proven to be a successful leader, said school officials. His teams have won two Eastern League championships in the past three years. 

The Pointers won 35 of 43 volleyball sets played en route to an 11-1 league record (17-13 overall) in 2013 before losing a first-round CIF match to Steele Canyon.

“James is a hard worker and super organized,” Murphy said, “and the kids really respond to him. I know the girls’ team will be in good hands.”

Sakasegawa’s daughter, Mia, was a senior captain on this year’s team.

Sakasegawa will replace popular girls coach Davis Ransom, who has accepted a position with a college-level team.

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