Jeff Prieto returns for his second season with UNLV and will oversee the infielders while working with the hitters, base runners and short game. He will also coach third base, set defenses and develop defensive strategy for the Rebels.
Prieto joined the Rebels after spending five seasons as the head coach at Clovis East High School in Clovis, Calif., leading the Timberwolves to the program's first five postseason appearances in school history.
"Jeff is a coach I have had my eye on for a few years and I have watched him develop his program and was heavily drawn to his passion for the student-athlete experience as well as the game of baseball," Gouldsmith said. "Jeff developed some fine young players in recent years at Clovis East and he opens even further a network to Central California that enriches our recruiting efforts in that area."
During his first year with the Rebel program, Prieto had an instant impact on the defense, as the UNLV infielders finished second in the NCAA with 75 double plays during the regular season and third overall in the country by turning 1.29 double plays per game. The Rebels' .961 fielding percentage was the seventh-best mark in program history as well. He helped mentor 2009 starting short stop Anthony Morel, who earned first team All-Mountain West Conference honors, as well as Bryan Resnick, who garnered third team Academic All-American honors. At the plate Prieto assisted with the hitters, helping the team record a .329 batting average on the season, which was the sixth-best average in school history. UNLV also laced 35 triples in 2009, which was second in the country.
In his final season at CEHS, Prieto directed his team to a 25-7 record and earned a spot in the CIF Central Section semifinals. His squad at one point held the No. 1 ranking in the CIF Central Section and was ranked seventh overall in the Golden State. The Timberwolves also won the 2008 Fresno Easter Classic, beating nationally ranked teams Jesuit High School (Carmichael, Calif.), as well as Clovis West High School in the championship game. He was named the 2008 American Baseball Coaches Association Region 8 Coach of the Year and was the ABCA national runner-up. At the plate Prieto assisted with the hitters, helping the team record a .329 batting average on the season, which was the sixth-best average in school history.
Prieto developed 14 prep players who went on to earn Division-I scholarships, including Garrett Olson of the Baltimore Orioles and Jason Donald, who is in the Philadelphia Phillies farm system and was a member of the 2008 USA Olympic team, which earned the bronze medal.
Prieto is a 2001 graduate of Fresno State, where he was a four-year starter for the Bulldogs and helped them to three NCAA Regional appearances, including trips to the championship games in 1997 and 2001. He earned Academic All-WAC twice and led the Bulldogs in home runs and triples, and was second in RBI in 1999.
Prieto comes from a long baseball pedigree, as his grandfather is Bob Bennett, who coached at Fresno State for 34 years and his 1,302 wins were the fifth most in NCAA history when he retired. Prieto's father, Bob, coached at Clovis West High School.
Prieto is married to Jamie Prieto, and the couple has a son, Wyatt.