John Niekro was first exposed to major-league baseball as a toddler, when his dad, Phil, was pitching for the Braves. John grew up in winnett County, Georgia, and pitched Shiloh High School to a state AA championship in his senior year (1987). He then pitched four years at Troy State University in Alabama. After receving his bachelor of science degree in criminal justice from Troy State in 1992, Niekro spent a year and a half coordinating special events for the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association, based in Pittsburg. John was a jack of all trades during the Silver Bullets' inaugural campaign, assisting in numerous areas in addition to his coaching duties. John spent his first two seasons as the bullpen coach before replacing his uncle, Joe, in 1995 as the full-time pitching coach.
An avid hunter, golfer, and fisherman, Niekro is single and resides in Flowery Branch, GA.