Hawaii's Heisman Hopeful: Mariota's Mentor - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Hawaii's Heisman Hopeful: Mariota's Mentor

Marcus Mariota.  AP photo: Rick Bowmer Marcus Mariota. AP photo: Rick Bowmer
Vince Passas Vince Passas
KAIMUKI, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

Vince Passas has been at St Louis School longer than he can remember.

“Thirty…thirty some odd years” said the long-time quarterbacks coach.

In that time, he's mentored some impressive student athletes. Marcus Mariota was one of them.

"When I first saw him, I thought he was a basketball player, heard how good a soccer player he was, heard he was a quarterback" recalls Passas.

It didn't take long for Passas to recognize the talent in Marcus.

"When I first saw him throw the ball. It was his freshman year. He was accurate, he was amazingly accurate".

What also stood out about Marcus were his humility and family values.

"He used to do all the good things, and believed the more good things he does for other people, the more good things will come back for him".

Mariota displayed that belief when forced to sit behind Jeremy Higgins his junior year

"They complimented each other, said good things to each other, and just tried to push each other to get better. I think that really prepared them for college" said Passas

In college, Marcus has blossomed but he still employs the fundamentals learned on the St Louis campus.

Passas says his influence was minimal. "The only thing we'd done was shorten up his throwing motion, be a little bit tighter, try to secure the ball better and not turn it over".

Proof has it however, that Passas' influence has been tremendous. Mariota threw 38 touchdowns this past season, and only 2 interceptions. His relationship with Marcus was so deep that Mariota invited ‘Coach Vinnie' to the award ceremony in New York.

Turns out, the protégé made just as much an impression on the mentor.

"It was an honor and truly a blessing. I thank the lord he made our paths cross".

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