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Maui’s QB Hopefuls Benefit from Free Passas’ Clinic

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   March 3rd, 2013 · No Disqus Comments ·
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· Maui Sports
Saint Louis School coach Vince Passas explains the proper release to a group of quarterbacks Saturday at War Memorial Stadium. Photo by Rodney S. Yap.

Saint Louis School coach Vince Passas explains the proper release to a group of quarterbacks Saturday at War Memorial Stadium. Photo by Rodney S. Yap.

By Rodney S. Yap

Hawaii’s quarterback coaching guru Vince Passas conducted a free two-hour “Quarterback / Receiver Clinic” for a dozen quarterbacks and more than 30 receivers Saturday at War Memorial Stadium.

Passas, 56, is a real estate broker by trade and a 1974 Saint Louis graduate who has served as an assistant coach for 39 years at the school and has been on the sidelines for all 16 state and Prep Bowl championships.

“I like working with kids and doing this is my way of giving back,” said Passas, who believes in paying it forward with random acts of kindness and encouraged the Valley Isle players to experience it by cheering up person or helping around the house without being told. “I promise you it will come back to you tenfold. I don’t know how it happens, but it does.”

The reward far outweighs the effort it takes to be nice to others or being a good teammate, Passas told the group after working them on the proper mechanics of throwing the ball on the run.

Maui's youth benefitted from Vince Passas' love for football, coaching and giving back Saturday at War Memorial Stadium. Photo by Rodney S. Yap.

Maui’s youth benefitted from Vince Passas’ love for football, coaching and giving back Saturday at War Memorial Stadium. Photo by Rodney S. Yap.

The long-time coach has worked with the best quarterbacks in the state, from the most recent in Marcus Mariota (Oregon) to the older ones now college coaches in Timmy Chang (SMU) and Jason Gesser (Idaho).

Former Baldwin offensive coordinator Dave Carino played football and baseball at Saint Louis for Passas. Since the Crusaders baseball team was here for the Baldwin baseball tournament, Passas and Carino decided on a Neighbor Island version of the weekly “Get Better” camps Passas puts on every Sunday for two hours (10 a.m. to noon) at Saint Louis School.

All interested quarterbacks grades 7-11 were eligible to attend and each were asked to bring at least one wide receiver. Coaches were also welcome and a handful were in attendance.

Lahainaluna quarterback Sione Makoa Filikitonga throws a pass Saturday at the "Quarterback / Receiver Clinic." Photo by Rodney S. Yap.

Lahainaluna quarterback Sione Makoa Filikitonga throws a pass Saturday at the “Quarterback / Receiver Clinic.” Photo by Rodney S. Yap.

“We had a nice group of kids show up,” said Carino. “I want to thank the players and coaches who came and took advantage of this opportunity.”

“He’s coached them all, from Coach Darnell (Arceneaux) to Jason Gesser,” Mariota said in a Honolulu Star Advertiser story two years ago. “He’s left his mark on this hill.”

The Oregon quarterback capped the Ducks’ 2012 season with a 35-17 victory over Kansas State in the 2013 Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 3, equaled the best season ranking in school history by being named No. 2 in both the Associated Press  and USA Today (coaches) final top 25 polls behind BCS national champion Alabama.

“Coach Vinny had me shorten things,” said the 6-foot-4 Mariota before leaving Saint Louis for Eugene, Ore. “My stride, my release. I got real smooth with his help. And reading defenses, three-step drop. A lot on footwork. All that good stuff.”

It was Passas who helped University of Hawaii quarterback Jeremy Higgins break into the starting lineup last year.

In spring training and training camp, the knock on Higgins was that his passes had the right intent but lacked velocity. The southpaw corrected that issue by working with Passas, his former coach.

“Coach Vinny has coached me since I was in sixth grade,” Higgins told Stephen Tsai of the Star Advertiser. “Every time I feel like I’m losing it, I go back to him.”

Passas has developed many of the state’s best high school quarterbacks. Below is a list of players he’s coached:

Saint Louis

2010 — Marcus Mariota

2008-09 — Jeremy Higgins

2006-07 — Micah Mamiya

2005 — Cameron Higgins (also Jeremiah Masoli)

2004 — Stanley Nihipali

2003 — Kealii Perbera

2001-02 — Bobby George

2000 — Kelika Higa

1998-99 — Timmy Chang

1996-97 — Jason Gesser

1994-95 — Darnell Arceneaux

1993 — Joe Correia

1991-92 — Joel Lane

1989-90 — John Hao

1988 — Mike Nua

Kaiser

1982 — Jared Wong

1980-81 — Cliff Kaneiakala

1979 — Edmund Kakalia

1978 — Chris Whaley

1977 — Gary Keahohou

 

 

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