By Mike Deak
SYRACUSE – It’s a job he’s long since wondered about, wondered if it was his time. Now, Joe Salazar is ready for his shot.
Salazar was named the new varsity baseball head coach for Wawasee High School, coming full circle for a program he played for three decades ago. After years of coaching at the youth levels, cultivating talent, helping grow the game at the local levels, Salazar is ready to take the step into the high school game at his alma mater.
“Wawasee is going in the right direction with the success of the program the past couple of years and winning a sectional championship last year,” Salazar said. “I bleed green and gold and would be honored to bring my coaching skill set to work for Wawasee. Not only would I like to win another sectional title, but would like to set our goals higher each and every year. This has always been a job I had wanted since I graduated from Goshen College. With coach (Brent) Doty taking the AD position, I felt it was my opportunity to give it a shot and now it has become a reality.”
Salazar is a 1994 Wawasee High School graduate, who played four years of baseball and football, as well as two years each in basketball and wrestling. Salazar later went on to play baseball at Goshen College and then made the jump to professional baseball before returning to the Syracuse area.
Salazar has coached several levels of baseball and wrestling over the past 12 years, most recently with the Wawasee Elite travel baseball club. He has also coached with the Wawasee Middle School wrestling and football programs, and is a program assistant with Wawasee’s high school football program.
Joe and his wife, Yvonne, have two sons with direct ties to Wawasee baseball in Kameron, who was an Indiana All-Star this past season as a senior, and Kaleb, who is entering his junior year at Wawasee. Kameron is currently at Marian University on a baseball scholarship.
Wawasee athletic director Brent Doty, who served as the Wawasee baseball coach from 2014-21, was thrilled to tab Salazar as his successor. Stepping away from the coaching position to take on the athletic director’s role full time this past June, Doty noted Salazar seemed to be a perfect fit, and a hire he wouldn’t lose sleep over.
“Really excited for Joe, he’s been in the community for a long time,” Doty said. “He’s been with the youth program for a long time. He knows all the kids and he’s been involved with all the levels. He will be a great fit at the varsity level for us.”