Two Hundred Wins and Counting!


Niles Athletics/ Facebook

Photo Taken by Niles Athletics

You might know Mr. Mike Guarnieri as a seventh grade science teacher, but he is much more than that. Not only is he an incredible teacher and coach, but he is also my dad. I wanted to write an article about him because he is celebrating his two-hundredth win as Niles McKinley’s head baseball coach. Coach Mike (I’ll just call him that since we’re talking more about him as a coach)has been coaching for 28 years. His love for baseball and all the hard work he put in led to all his accomplishments and all of his players’ accolades as well. Before his coaching career started, he played baseball at Niles. He started coaching right out of high school at 18 years old. He missed not being involved with the game once he graduated so coaching the sport was “calling his name.” He loves the game and also wants to help athletes reach their goals and accomplish all that they set out to do. Not only does Coach Mike want to better his players’ athletic careers, but he wants to teach his players how to be better people in the future. Many of his players go on to play at the college level and he couldn’t be more proud. He says, “I feel very pleased when I know that my players have worked so hard and have achieved the ultimate goal of continuing their love of baseball.” After coaching the sport for so many years, he actually lost count of how many of his players went on to play in college. That says a lot!
Although Coach Mike is proud of all his players–past and present– nothing can compare to his own son playing baseball for him. Mikey Guarnieri is now a senior at Niles McKinley High School and has been coached by our dad ever since he was a little boy. Even though it seems those two spend a lot of time perfecting Mikey’s game and getting him ready for college, I couldn’t be prouder of having a dad who wants the best for his kids and I am equally proud of my brother who is keeping the Guarnieri tradition alive. When I asked Coach Mike what was more emotional: two hundred wins or Mikey playing his last year for him, my dad said emphatically, “Mikey leaving. I am upset to lose him as a player but so excited he is moving onto college and will play at that level.I am definitely honored to have such a great son.”

Coach T.C Guarnieri ( yes they are brothers) is also a teacher at Niles Middle School and coached here at Niles for 29 years. Talk about a real love for the game and a family tradition. The brothers began coaching together in 1997 and started a very successful program that lasted many years. Coach T.C retired in 2019 while Coach Mike continued to coach. Together they made such an impact on the baseball program in Niles. Not only does the Guarnieri family follow each other in the high school baseball track, but both TC (Coach Mike’s older brother) and Mike’s son are going to play for the Thiel Tomcats. Nicky Guarnieri is actually the catcher for the team and is a sophomore. This is so exciting because now we can all go to games as one big family to support both boys. My brother is looking forward to moving on with his career in baseball and he is actually going to room with another fellow Niles recruit, Zach Macik.

Mikey and Coach Mike (left) and Nicky and Coach TC (Right)
Photo Credit: Niles Athletics

Throughout his tenure, Coach Mike achieved many things such as four conference championships, countless winning records, and just recently he won his two-hundredth game. The baseball team and coaches also have had the opportunity throughout the years to go to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina on spring break and play against many talented players and teams. It’s always something the team and Coach Mike look forward to. Not only is it great weather to play in down south, but it’s a wonderful time for the players to bond, have a good time outside of Niles, and the coaches get to enjoy seeing their players come together as a team.

So, everyone now is wondering the big question: Is Mike Guarnieri going to hang up his bat and ball and retire from coaching? No one but Coach Mike can answer that, and he really can’t commit either way right now. Personally, I know my dad wants to spend more time watching me play basketball and soccer and of course, going to see Mikey play in college. But I sure do know that he loves the game of baseball and he wants to keep that successful program going here at Niles. No matter what he decides, it’s okay with me. He’s my dad and I will support him like he supports me in all that he wants and does.

Photo Taken by Memory Lane

I was trying to find a quote to sum up Coach Mike and his impressive winning record here at Niles. Yes, congratulations of course are in order. But I saw this quote by Joe DiMaggio (one of the New York Yankees most famous players) “When baseball is no longer fun, it’s no longer a game.” I thought of Coach Mike, my dad, immediately. When he decides it’s no longer fun, he will leave that game he loves much. But for right now– coaching future athletes, having winning seasons, seeing me cheer for him in the stands, and being called coach—well that’s enough for Coach Mike to stay in the dugout! And that’s absolutely fine with me! Let’s get 200 more wins, dad!