Menendez named Bellaire softball coach

BELLAIRE — Dave Menendez and coaching girls softball go hand-in-hand.

The Bellaire High grad has coached hundreds of girls of all ages in countless leagues. He now has a new and cherished coaching gig.

Menendez was hired Aug. 12 by the Bellaire Board of Education to be the high school’s new head softball coach. He succeeds Melissa Lahna who held the post for 17 years. Menendez served as her assistant this past spring.

“I feel great about being named head coach. I am really excited and cannot wait to get started,” Menendez said. “I have done a lot of coaching but never been a head high school coach. It is a different monster. There is so much more responsibility involved.

“I learned the ropes last year. Being a varsity assistant really helped,” he added. “I want to thank Melissa for all her help. She really was a big help and she did a great job with running this program for so many years.”

Menendez, age 45, has scripted a lengthy softball coaching career, spanning more than a decade. He has served as Bellaire Softball League director while also coaching 10U, 12U and 14U teams.

That service and commitment to the Bellaire summer organization will pay dividends as he assumes his new charge.

“I am familiar with the players. They are like my own kids,” Menendez said. “This will be an easy transition. I got to know the varsity girls real well this past season. I know what to expect.

“I treat the girls like how I want to be treated,” he added. “I will answer any questions that they may have. I want them to have fun and we want to win.”

Menendez takes the Lady Reds’ reins with some definitive goals in mind.

“I want to get our numbers back up. We had 13 girls on the team last year. We lose only two seniors, including all-stater Natalie Stoner. We should have eight seniors this year,” he said. “We also want to get the aggressiveness back. I want the girls knowing they will win every time they take the field.”

Being officially hired less than two weeks, Menendez has not had time to finalize a staff.

“I am still putting it (staff) together. I have talked to a couple of people,” he noted. “One thing for sure my wife, Aimee, will be a big part of the program.”

The couple have three daughters: Lauren, Taylor and Emily. Taylor will be a sophomore first baseman/designated hitter for dad this coming spring.

Menendez is employed by Marathon Petroleum (formerly MarkWest) in Harrison County.