HONOLULU — Hawaii Pacific University assistant baseball coach Dallas Correa has been named head coach of the program, HPU announced Tuesday.
“First and foremost, I’m super grateful and humbled by it,” Correa said in a phone interview Tuesday. “It’s something that I’ve always wanted to be able to do once I started coaching. I think the most important part of this is it’s truly a reflection of all the mentors and other college coaches and even the high school coaches out on Kauai that have truly guided me and mentored me throughout this whole process. I think that’s what’s most important about it. It’s a reflection of me growing up on Kauai and everybody that’s helped me along the way.”
HPU is an NCAA Division II school that plays in the PacWest Conference. For Correa, this is his first time as a head coach at the collegiate level.
Correa, a Hanapepe native, will be among the youngest college head coaches at just 25 years old.
“For me, leadership has nothing to do with age,” Correa said. “I truly believe leadership and age aren’t (related) in this entire thing. I think it’s the experiences that you get and the people that have been able to guide you through it, that have allowed me to get to this position.”
Correa served as assistant coach at HPU the last three seasons. He succeeds former head coach Garret Yukumoto, who left the program in June. He also was the recruiting coordinator, catchers coach and oversaw academics and strength and conditioning programs.
As the head coach, Correa said something he will promote to his team is the notion of “living above the line.”
“By ‘above the line,’ I mean everything we’re going to do is going to be intentional and purposeful,” he said. “We’re trying to make sure we put ourselves out in a good light — in the community, the classroom and more importantly, just being good people. … The wins are going to come if we can do that. I think that’s what we’re going to be really stressing throughout this entire year.”
He was previously the field manager for the Yuba-Sutter Gold Sox (formerly called the Marysville Gold Sox), a collegiate summer baseball league club in Marysville, Calif.
“I think overall, I think the maturity of having to manage people is the main thing that I’ve learned over time,” Correa said. “The Xs and Os is something that you get from playing and being around baseball. But the true ability of managing people and manage everything that comes along in being in this position, I think, was the most important part that I’ve learned.”
Correa had been with the Gold Sox since 2016, at first as a hitting coach and then was named field manager in 2017.
He was extended with the Gold Sox through 2018 until he was deemed ineligible because NCAA regulations state a paid coach cannot be affiliated with another baseball club further than 100 miles of the current university where he is employed, according to the Gold Sox.
“It was really unfortunate. I was really looking forward to that,” Correa said. “It’s a lot of fun being able to coach summer ball. … They (the NCAA) consider that recruiting. I had to let that one go.”
Correa graduated from Saint Louis School in Honolulu in 2011. There, he was a two-time All-Interscholastic League of Honolulu catcher, a two-time ILH champion and was named an Under Armour Preseason All-American.
He went on to play four years as a catcher at the University of the Pacific, an NCAA Division I school in Stockton, Calif.
HPU currently has one player from Kauai — redshirt-sophomore infielder Micah Layosa.
Layosa, from Hanamaulu, graduated from Kauai High School in 2016. As a Red Raider, he was two-time Kauai Interscholastic Player of the Year, a three-time KIF champion and once was a Hawaii High School Athletic Association Division II All-Tournament Team selection.
In the 2018 season, Layosa had a .313 batting average with 26 hits, one home run and 12 RBIs, according to HPU Athletics. In May, he was named a PacWest Conference Freshman of the Week.
“He’s actually doing really well. … He’s really becoming his own guy now. It’s fun to watch,” Correa said of Layosa.
Another thing Correa wants to implement as head coach is recruiting homegrown talent to HPU.
“For me, it was really important to be home and be able to crack down on the local kids,” he said. “My recruiting philosophy is to try to and make sure we get the best local kids to stay home with us. I’m so happy that I get the opportunity to make that happen.”
Nick Celario, sports writer, can be reached at 245-0437 or firstname.lastname@example.org.