WALLA WALLA - Dave Meliah, the second year head coach at Walla Walla Community College, has joined the Walla Walla Sweets' coaching staff for the 2011 West Coast League season. Meliah joins his Warrior assistant and the Sweets manager J.C. Biagi, as well as Sweets pitching coach Mark Michaud, both in their second seasons with the Sweets.
"I've known Dave for a long time, as a friend, mentor, and fellow coach," said Biagi. "He'll fit in tremendously well with what we're trying to accomplish during the summer and be a great resource for our players as they strive to fulfill their dreams of playing at the professional level."
Meliah brings an impressive playing and coaching resume with him, having been a career player and coach. He grew up in Walla Walla and attended DeSales High School, where he helped the Irish win three state championships. He then attended WWCC and helped the Warriors win the NWAACC Eastern Division in 1997 while being named to the NWAACC first team as a shortstop.
Meliah continued his collegiate career at the University of San Francisco and was named first team all-West Coast Conference while setting a team record with 19 doubles and helping the Dons to a team record 34 wins in 1998.
Meliah was drafted in the 17th round of the 1998 MLB draft by the Texas Rangers. He signed a professional contract and played six years with the Rangers in their minor league system, reaching AAA Oklahoma City for his final two and a half seasons. Meliah retired from playing in 2003 and moved back to Walla Walla to pursue a coaching and teaching career.
After five seasons as a Warrior assistant, Meliah took over the reins in 2010 and guided the team to the Eastern Region playoffs, just missing out on a trip to the NWAACC Championship series.
Meliah is excited for his first season with the Sweets.
"I look forward to the opportunity to work with a first class organization in the Sweets," he said. "It should be an exciting summer with the players that are being brought in and I can't wait to start working with those guys to help coach Biagi and coach Michaud bring a WCL championship contender to Walla Walla."
He is married to his wife, Jill, also a teacher and the head coach of the Wa-Hi girls basketball team. Their first child, Emily, is 3 1/2 years old.
Walla Walla Community College opens 2011 play on March 5 with a doubleheader against Miles Community College, followed by a twin bill the following day against Clark College.
The Sweets open their season on June 3 when they host the Corvallis Knights for the first of a three-game series.