Kahuku High Lacks Base­ball Coach And Stu­dent In­ter­est

MidWeek Islander (Windward Oahu) - - Windward Oahu Sports - By JACK DANILEWICZ

Among the byprod­ucts of hav­ing a high-pro­file foot­ball pro­gram can be an oc­ca­sional lack of in­ter­est in other sports. Kahuku ath­letic di­rec­tor Gil­lian Ya­m­a­gata has found this to be the case re­cently, as she re­vealed last week that the school won’t be able to field a var­sity base­ball team this spring.

In ad­di­tion to the school’s strug­gle to find a coach to lead the var­sity pro­gram, a lack of in­ter­est in base­ball on the part of stu­den­tath­letes also cre­ated the void. “We do have a lot of par­tic­i­pa­tion in other sports, es­pe­cially track and field be­cause they all want to do that to stay in shape for foot­ball,” Ya­m­a­gata said. “We have quite a few in track and field, and we had some who were go­ing to do both (track and base­ball). I don’t know how they were go­ing to do it, but we leave that (whether or not a stu­dent-ath­lete can com­pete in more than one sport con­cur­rently) up to the coach.”

De­spite re­peated ef­forts by Ya­m­a­gata and the school, there sim­ply were not enough stu­dent-ath­letes in­ter­ested in base­ball to field a team.

“We’ve not had a JV team be­fore, but we’ve al­ways been able to carry a var­sity team,” Ya­m­a­gata said. “We just didn’t have kids sign up. You have to have at least 14 to be able to have a team, and we weren’t able to get nine, which is a full team.”

Kahuku’s se­nior-heavy team last spring played a large fac­tor in the low num­bers this win­ter re­gard­ing signups. In fact, the Red Raiders had made the OIA White Con­fer­ence play­offs un­der then- head coach Dar­ren John­son, but the school hasn’t been able to find a re­place­ment for him.

“We had two coaches, but one had to move back to the Main­land, and the other found that he couldn’t work it out with his sched­ule.” Ya­m­a­gata said. “That kind of left us stranded three weeks be­fore the sea­son started. You can only do so much.”

Ya­m­a­gata has left no stone un­turned in try­ing to get the word out.

“We’ve placed ads in the paper and al­ways post it on our own web­site,” she said. “We just have to wait and see what hap­pens.”

Among the chal­lenges of coach­ing base­ball at Kahuku is that the school doesn’t have its own field, al­though the Red Raiders are able to use Kahuku District Park.

“(A Kahuku head var­sity base­ball coach) has to prep the field as well,” Ya­m­a­gata said, “so there is a lot of work in­volved. We don’t have lights at the field, so you have to be done with prac­tice by 5:30 or 6 be­cause it gets dark.

“We’re op­ti­mistic that some­one will step up, and I’m sure we will be able to con­vince enough kids to come out. Hope­fully, we’ll be more suc­cess­ful next year. The key is get­ting the coach in place. Then you can make it hap­pen.”

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