Mandy Pelaez returned home to take over the Southwest baseball program in 2017 after 24 years of high school coaching experience in Miami. In his second year leading the Eagles, he was named the District 15-9A Coach-of-the-Year by A 1987 graduate of Southwest, Pelaez is one of the all-time great players at his alma mater. A three-year varsity starter (high schools did not have ninth grade back then), Pelaez hit .340 in 10th grade, .389 as a junior and .379 his senior year. The county’s finest second baseman in 1987, he still holds the school records for most stolen bases in a career (49) and is tied for most in a game (5). He is tied for the most games played in a season with 32 in 1985 and also held the record for most games played in a career until it was broken first by Carlos Castillo in 1994 and then again by Anthony Duran in 2011. He was named the Eagles Outstanding Offensive Player in 1986 and the team's Outstanding Defensive Player in 1987.

In 1988 and 1989, Pelaez played for Steve Hertz at Miami-Dade Community College Wolfson campus. He batted .400 as a freshman, earning the team’s Rookie-of-the-Year award. In 1990, Pelaez started 32 games for head coach Danny Price at FIU, hitting .278 and swiping 24 bases. His senior year he batted .303 in 27 starts on the first FIU team to reach the NCAA Division I tournament.

After graduating with a degree in business, Pelaez returned to Southwest in 1992 as assistant coach to then-head coach and current Athletic Director Jorge Diaz. In his four years on the Eagles staff, Southwest was 86-26 and was nationally ranked (as high as #3) in three of those seasons.

His outstanding work as an assistant coach at Southwest opened the door to a head coaching position at Miami Central in 1997. The competitiveness of Pelaez’ two Central teams caught the attention of many around the county and Sunset High made him their head coach, where he remained until accepting the Southwest job. At Sunset, he finished as district runner-up five times before winning the school's first district championship in 2013.