Miami Dade College Names Mike Balado New Athletic Director and Alex Fernandez Senior Advisor to Athletics

Miami, August 10, 2023 – Miami Dade College (MDC) welcomes Mike Balado back to Miami as the College’s new athletic director. In addition, MDC alum and former Major League Baseball player Alex Fernandez will serve as the new Senior Advisor to MDC Athletics.

“Mike is a great champion of MDC and a proven leader who brings years of experience across Division 1 schools to our coaches and student athletes,” said MDC President Madeline Pumariega. “I look forward to seeing him grow MDC Athletics to new heights, especially as we introduce men’s and women’s soccer next fall.”

Balado comes to MDC from Arkansas State University, where he was head basketball coach since 2017. He has coached more than 15 seasons at various institutions, including the University of Louisville, Florida Atlantic University and University of Miami.

A Miami native, Balado played basketball at Christopher Columbus High School and college basketball at St. Thomas University, where he was a two-year starter and captain, while helping his team win the regular season conference title in 1997. He earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from St. Thomas University, and a master’s degree in exercise and sport science from Augusta University.

“I am beyond thrilled to be named the next Director of Athletics at Miami Dade College. Having the opportunity to lead MDC Athletics with so much tradition and success is an honor. I feel that with the talent of our student-athletes and coaches the future of MDC athletics is bright,” Balado said. “I want to thank MDC leadership for their confidence and commitment in me.”

An MDC alum, Fernandez pitched for the Chicago White Sox (1990–96) and Florida Marlins (1997, 1999–2000) during his 11-year Major League Baseball career. He led the Miami Marlins to their first-ever World Series championship.

“Alex knows what it takes to do things right on and off the field and has demonstrated success in all facets of life throughout the years,” President Pumariega said. “He understands what it takes to win. He has always been the best at what he does, and this is another opportunity to bring greatness to not only our baseball program but to MDC Athletics as a whole.”

Fernandez, also a Miami native, attended Monsignor Edward Pace High School. In 1990, he won the Dick Howser Trophy for National College Baseball Player of the Year while pitching at MDC.

“I am truly excited to accept this incredible opportunity at MDC,” Fernandez said. “It’s an honor to be entrusted with this role and to work toward putting this program in the position to compete for a national title every year. I want to express my sincere gratitude to President Pumariega for her unwavering determination and belief in me and her commitment to excellence. I’m excited to bring that same energy to MDC Athletics and the baseball program.”

About MDC Athletics
MDC’s renowned athletic programs have earned 36 NJCAA national titles and include basketball, baseball, softball and volleyball. Most recently, the College announced men’s and women’s soccer teams coming in 2024. Many student athletes graduate from MDC with honors and transfer to top universities across the country, while others are recruited to play professionally, eventually being inducted into prestigious halls of fame. Learn more about MDC’s athletic programs at