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Softball coach Greg Venger steps into smaller role

The coaching switch will see assistant coach Andrea Contreras get promoted in both title and duties.

By Benjamin Royer, Sports Editor and Edward Segal, Valley Life Editor

Coach Greg Venger crosses his arms in the game against Bakersfield on April 14. The fifthyear coach is to move to an assistant-like position within the softball program prior to the 2023 season. (Jose Callejas / The Valley Star)

In an effort to retool Valley softball’s leadership, coach Greg Venger will become an assistant, while Andrea Contreras is primed to become the head coach.

Following a turmoil-filled season, Athletic Director Dave Mallas is switching things up with softball, as current assistant head coach Contreras will be moving into an in-game and practice-focused role. Venger, the head coach, will step down into a more minor role. The fifth-year coach – who finished up his fourth season as head coach – led the Monarchs to a 7-23 record. The last-place finish in the Western State Conference East wrapped up Valley’s worst result since 2016-17.

“I’m just kind of changing roles, I’m not leaving anything really,” said Venger. “More recruiting, more behind the scenes helping the girls and making sure they get their classes. As you can see this year there was less on the field stuff so the role has already changed. It wouldn’t be me addressing the team first like what you would see after a game, it would be Andrea (Contreras) instead. We’re just switching roles.”

Venger has a 60-61 record as coach, taking over the program before the 2017-18 season. The Monarchs achieved two victorious seasons from 2017-2019 – winning 23 games in both years – but has faltered since the COVID-19 affected 2019-2020 campaign.

The multi-sport coach also pilots the women’s soccer program, leading them to a 4-14-2 record in 2021-22. He is listed as the associate head coach of the team, along with Melissa Fernandez. Vanger may take pointers from his co-coaching role from soccer and transfer the skills to softball.

When asked about the process of Venger stepping down or into a different role, Mallas remained bullish, but did not deny the prospect of the situation.

“Nothing has been finalized yet,” said the second-year athletic director. “(Softball) has just been wrapped up and the spring sports have just been wrapped up. Nothing has been finalized, but that is a possibility — yes.”

Assistant coach Andrea Contreras walks off the field in the game against Allan Hancock on Feb. 17. Contreras will be transitioning into the head coach position within Valley College Softball. (Jose Callejas / The Valley Star)

Contreras has been working with the softball program since 2017 – when Venger took over – in an assistant role, but also works alongside at Cleveland High School – where Venger is the athletic director – as a teacher’s assistant. She is currently finishing up her physical education teaching credential at National University, alongside the completed bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology Contreras earned from California Baptist University.

Wanting to focus on recruiting and helping the players through school, Venger hopes to take advantage of the full year ahead to prepare the team for the 2023 campaign.

“We’re recruiting like crazy. We’re out there every single day recruiting. Talking to players, players are narrowing their four-year letters and acceptances have come out. So a lot of those girls who are going four-year, they’re moving on, the ones who are going junior college, they’re narrowing it down between us and local colleges, so I hope that they choose us.”

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