Current Bend Elks skipper tabbed to take over Buffs baseball program

by:  - Joe Dominiak

Joe Dominiak, an 18-year collegiate coaching veteran, has been approved to take over as the Madras High School baseball coach.
   The approval from the 509-J School District Board of Directors, based on recommendation from MHS Athletic Director Rory Oster, came in the Sept. 24 regular meeting.
   Dominiak will replace Adam Randall, who left his post during the summer at MHS to pursue another coaching opportunity in Eagle Point.
   "The experience Joe brings and the opportunities he's going to give our athletes is tremendous," Oster said. "He's going to be able to teach our what it takes to be successful not just here, but at the next level, too."
   Dominiak, who was just recently named the head baseball coach for the Bend Elks of the West Coast League, has coached at four different collegiate levels during his career.
   His longest tenured job was for 10 years at NCAA Division II school Saint Martin's University in Lacey, Wash., as the head coach. He has held assistant coaching positions for the University of Washington (NCAA Division I), University of Puget Sound (NCAA Division III) and Chemeketa Community College.
   When he left Saint Martin's at the end of the 2008 season, he said he wanted to spend more time with family. He eventually found his way back into baseball after his wife, Diane, now the assistant principal at Jefferson County Middle School, told him to find another job two weeks after his resignation.
   "I guess I was driving her crazy," he said.
   With all of the experience and baseball knowledge Dominiak will bring to the program, his main goal is to make sure his players understand how to "respect the game and play it the right way."
   "I'm going to expect the kids to dedicate themselves not just on the field, but off it as well," he said. "You have to play 21 hard outs and when we do things, we need to do them right."
   Dominiak rekindled the Saint Martin's program, along with the alumni association and other boosters, after 40 years of dormancy when he took the job during the summer of 1998.
   After 8,000 miles of traveling to recruit, and $750,000 earned to build a modest, but functional, stadium, Saint Martin's played in the stadium the next season and captured a conference championship.
   "That was really a tribute to everything we worked on that year," Dominiak said. "The kids bought into what I was teaching."
   They finished 22-19 overall that season and advanced to regional round of the NCAA DII national tournament.
   Dominiak still isn't finished coaching collegiate ballplayers, however. He was the interim head coach of the Bend Elks last year and will take over the West Coast League team this year, which features current college players.
   Dominiak expects his players to "leave the park with dirty uniforms" and has plans to have the first team meeting Thursday.
   "There's going to be a learning curve," he said. "Some kids aren't going to like me right away, but if they learn how to respect the game, the game will treat them well."
   Madras made it to the Class 4A quarterfinals last year after they upset Baker in the first round, 4-3. The Buffs were eliminated by eventual state champ Ontario, 12-2, and finished with a 15-10 overall record.
   They placed second in the Tri-Valley Conference with a 10-5 mark.
   With just four seniors on last season's team, Dominiak knows he has a solid group coming back and fully intends on landing in the postseason again.
   "We've got a good nucleus, and that's going to be a great building block moving forward," he said.
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