Kahuku High Lacks Baseball Coach And Student Interest
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 student-athletes 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.”