Now calling plays for all of athletics, new Athletic Director Dave Mallas starts term in charge

Removing the interim status, Dave Mallas officially replaces Jim Fenwick as Valley College’s athletic director.

By Benjamin Royer, Valley Life Editor

Athletic director and baseball coach Dave Mallas talks to the baseball team in a huddle during practice at Valley College. Monday, September 27, 2021. Los Angeles, Calif. (Jeremy Ruiz/The Valley Star)

Coach Dave Mallas stands on the pitching mound, instructing his players as they listen to every word he says. His inviting presence has made it easy to be around, the same as when he entered Valley College 18 years ago. Mallas’ demeanor and attitude now has to transfer to the athletic director’s office where he takes the first steps in year one of his new job.

Starting from scratch has been a theme in Mallas’ coaching career. In 2002, the Diamond Bar native revived Los Angeles Mission College’s baseball team after the college cut athletics in 1997. With no active players attached to the college, Mallas built a roster and led the Eagles to its first playoffs run since its return in his second season. The storied coach headed south down the SR-170 Hollywood Freeway to become the Monarchs’ man in charge, revitalizing a previously struggling baseball program. Now, 18 years later, Mallas takes lead of Valley athletics during the tail-end of the COVID-19 pandemic, signaling the start of a new era of Monarchs’ sports.

“We all wanted to have someone that was familiar with all the programs and coaches,” Mallas said. “I think timing is everything and it was an opportunity, so I threw my name in [the athletic director search]. I have been here for 18 years. I take a lot of pride in Valley College; from the presidents that were here since I was hired, to the athletic directors that have been here throughout.”

When former Athletic Director Jim Fenwick retired after an eight-year stint in December 2020, President Barry Gribbons named Mallas and women’s basketball coach Monica Hang to share the co-interim status of athletic director. After six months in the role, Mallas was selected as Valley’s answer and permanent option as summer turned into fall.

“Coach Mallas has an incredible passion for the Monarch family as a whole, but especially Monarch athletics,” Gribbons said. “I know his commitment and great work ethic will help ensure that we continue building a strong athletic program.”

In his 18 years at Valley, Mallas won two Western State Conference titles and has made the playoffs on three occasions. Though the Monarchs have not had a winning season since 2015, the veteran coach has sustained his job through his reputation on campus.

Before his coaching days, Mallas played baseball at both Santa Ana College (then known as Rancho Santiago Community College) and California State University, Chico, receiving a bachelor’s degree at the latter. Mallas had been a professor in the Health & Physical Education department since joining Valley, teaching courses across his previous 17 years at Valley.

“I definitely miss that,” Mallas said about having to relinquish most teaching duties. “It was a community that we had in the adapted PE (physical education) center as well as the pool. With the three assistants we had in the program, that is probably the biggest thing I miss about not teaching, the camaraderie with the assistants and the student body.”

As the former advisor of the Abilities Club, Mallas expressed his desire to continue to support the cabinet and general members through attending their events.

Outside of sports, the tenured coach is a family man, beaming in support of his wife and children.

“I like to spend time with my family first and foremost,” Mallas said. “I’ve got a wife of 20 years, an 18-year-old son that’s a senior in high school and a 14-year-old daughter that’s a freshman in high school. A lot of family time together and they are both active in sports as well. If I’m not at Valley College, then I am with them.”

Fall sports have already started in Mallas’ first months as athletic director with football, men’s water polo, women’s water polo and women’s soccer’s seasons already underway. Women’s basketball’s fall campaign is set to start on Oct. 9.

The new athletic director has lofty goals, one of which is creating a list of six sports programs they would like to revive during their term at the top of Monarchs’ sports.

“In the past we had men and women’s cross country dropped, we had men and women’s track and field dropped, so obviously we would like to get those back,” Mallas said. “For 17 years we’ve been trying to add men’s soccer, [Valley has] never had men’s soccer for as long as I’ve heard. We had women’s volleyball taken away at least 17 years ago, cause it has never been here as long as I have been here.”

Since being promoted to athletic director, Mallas does not plan on stepping down as head coach of the baseball program. Mallas will stay on as the coach for the 2022 season.

The future is in sight for Mallas, but admits that the present is of importance.

“We are just trying to get through COVID right now,” Mallas said. “As we get our student population up and start to get students back on campus, those [goals] are just some of the things that we will look forward to and where we would like to get going.”