A new head coach is set to take over the White Rock Tritons’ BC Premier Baseball League team, as the former coach steps aside to focus on general-manager duties and his family.
Kyle Dhanani, who joined the Tritons as the senior team’s head coach in 2016 and added GM duties a few seasons later, will be replaced in the U18 Tritons’ dugout by Chad Stang, a former Triton player who has coached with the organization the last few years, most recently with the junior program.
Dhanani, a Semiahmoo Peninsula resident, said he decided to step back from day-to-day coaching duties for personal reasons; he works full-time for his family’s auto-parts business across the border in Bellingham, and also wants to spend more time with his two young children.
He described the time commitment over the last year-and-a-half as “like having two full-time jobs.”
“(Coaching) is a time-consuming job… and I think the COVID-19 break kind of gave me some perspective, and I realized how much time I was spending at the field and now with my sons, so it made the decision to take a step back even easier,” Dhanani told Peace Arch News Wednesday.
Dhanani – a former Tritons player and Milwaukee Brewers draft pick – joined the Tritons in 2016, taking over from former head coach Russ Smithson. He said he was happy to be able to stay involved as the program’s general manager, where he will assist Stang with player development while also handling scheduling and other administrative duties, including helping players plan for their post-secondary baseball futures.
“I’ll still have a hand in it and I still get to see it through a little longer. I came here four years ago and I’d like to keep pushing the program forward, and I know Chad is going to help do that, along with the staff we’ve assembled,” he said.
“The team is in good hands.”
Last season on the B.C. junior baseball circuit, Stang led the U16 Tritons to a third-place playoff finish which was highlighted by beating the No. 1-ranked Coquitlam Redlegs in the round of eight.
Stang played for the Tritons in 2007, and that season was named the BCPBL’s top hitter, most outstanding player and first-team all-star. From 2007-‘09, he attended Midland College in Texas, and was set to transfer to the NCAA’s Louisiana State University but instead turned pro after being drafted by the Brewers in the eighth round of the 2009 draft.
He retired from playing in 2015 and turned to coaching.
“Chad’s taken the bull by the horns. He’s got practice plans made up for all three teams until the end of the fall. He’s excited to do it, and that’s what you need,” Dhanani said.
In addition to Stang taking over the seniors, the Tritons organization has made a few additions coaching moves, as well. Former bantam (U15) assistant coach Matt Paculan will now take over as head coach beginning with the upcoming fall season, while three coaches – Reed Lavallee and former Triton players Zach Campagne and Evan Douglas – will combine to lead the junior squad.
Dhanani also noted that former Tritons catcher Marshal Luiz will help out on the coaching front, too, as long as he remains on the Semiahmoo Peninsula. Luiz currently plays with the NCAA Div. 1 Jackson State University Tigers in Jackson, Miss., but the college season is on hold due to COVID-19.
The 2020 season for all three Tritons teams was cancelled due to the ongoing pandemic, though the teams resumed practising earlier this summer. In recent weeks, as restrictions were lifted by the province and various health and sport authorities, the team was able to play games against two other teams in their cohort group – the Abbotsford Cardinals and Langley Blaze.
For the fall season, cohort groups will again be in place, though Dhanani was not sure what teams the Tritons would be grouped with. The groups could be different for each age division, he noted.
“We’ll hammer out the final details (in the next few days),” he said.