Joey Nieves comes to Faith Academy from L.E.A.D.S Academy in Pace, Fla. (Photo submitted)
By ARTHUR L. MACK
Faith Academy has named Joey Nieves its new boys basketball head coach.
Nieves, who is coming from Pace, Fla., is taking over for Chad Applin, who apparently resigned to take a new position elsewhere.
Efforts to reach Applin were unsuccessful but in a Facebook post, the school said: “We would also like to thank coach Chad Applin for the years of commitment that he brought to Faith Academy and to our basketball program. We are excited for his new opportunity and wish him all the best in the years to come!”
In 2019, Nieves started the basketball program at L.E.A.D. Academy, a private Christian school in Pace.
“I didn’t look for a coaching vacancy,” Nieves said. “In fact, I wasn’t planning to leave L.E.A.D. Academy. (Faith) was looking for someone else and the person they were interested in threw my hat into the ring. Some of the best jobs you don’t expect to get and when God opens a door, I try my best to be obedient.”
Nieves said his philosophy at Faith will be simple.
“I’m all about being disciplined, structured and playing team basketball,” he said. “It’s all about we and not about me. I think we’ll be satisfied with the types of players we have there.”
During his four years at L.E.A.D., Nieves led his teams to records of 5-20, 8-13, 27-2 and 14-16, when the school became a provisional member of the Florida High School Athletic Association and played Class 5A and 6A schools such as Pine Forest and Chiles High.
“We could’ve had a schedule that would have guaranteed us another 20-win season but we wanted to be able to go up against some tough competition,” Nieves said.
Nieves, a native of Jersey City, N.J., is a 2005 graduate of Gateway High School in Kissimmee, Fla., where he played basketball. He graduated from Liberty University, where he studied education. Prior to that, he played basketball three years at Pensacola Christian College.
Before arriving at L.E.A.D., Nieves was the guidance counselor at Heritage Christian School in Kissimmee and an assistant varsity basketball coach. Nieves also coached Southeast Elite, a travel basketball team.
Nieves is married to the former Katie Berg and they have four children.