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Windward // Windward Oahu Sports

Major College Coaches To Lead Kailua Youth Volleyball Clinics

Just as Ed Chun never lets up when on the volleyball court, he never stops promoting the sport he loves when off of the court.

“My summer is busy, busy, busy,” said Chun, Lanikai Athletic Club director and the founder of Yessah International. In addition to the annual Lanikai Open and Ko’olau Classic tournaments in July, LAC also will host a pair of clinics this month, beginning Thursday, when German National Team member and two-time Olympian Marcus Popp will provide a volleyball skills demonstration at Le Jardin Academy.

On May 26 and 27, the club also will host a clinic featuring former UH stand-out and current San Diego State coach Deitre Collins-Parker (and her staff) as well as University of Nevada head coach Ruth Lawanson.

“They’re a proven deal – not just at the college level, but with their Olympic experiences,” Chun said of the trio. “We’ll have three Olympians in a three-week span working with us.”

The clinics are in alignment with Chun’s desire to develop local volleyball talent. “We’re trying to build a bridge and give our (Hawaii) kids an avenue to reaching their dreams. It helps our players to see what level a player like Marcus is at. It may help them to set their own goals. After he does his skills demonstration, there also will be a question-and-answer (session).”

Chun’s relationship with Nevada assistant coach Nate Hallett, a former college teammate, helped LAC enlist the services of Lawanson, who is entering her third year as head volleyball coach for the Wolf Pack. She has been a coach at the Division I and II levels for more than 16 years at programs in the Big 10, Mountain West and Western Athletic Conferences. Her playing credentials span the complete range from NCAA, National Team, professional clubs in Europe as well as the Olympics, where she was part of the U.S. team that won the 1992 Bronze Medal in Barcelona.

A former member of the U.S. national team and a three-time AVCA All-American at UH Manoa, Collins-Parker was the starting middle blocker for the 1988 Olympic Team in Seoul, South Korea, and was an alternate for the 1992 team in Barcelona.

“To have two major college coaches (Collins-Parker and Lawanson) out here at once working with our kids is close to priceless,” said Chun, who also is head girls coach at Le Jardin and head boys coach at Kalaheo. Cost of both clinics, which are open to players age 9 to 18, is $120 with early registration (also $14 two weeks out, and $170 for walk-ins). LAC and LJA players can attend for $100 with early registration. Prospective participants can sign up for the clinics online at lanikaiathletics.com/clinics.cfm.

Come summer, the club will turn its attention to the Lanikai Open, happening July 13-14 at Lanikai Park. The Open already is in its fifth year, having become a “Who’s Who” of notable local players, in Chun’s view.

NCAA Most Valuable Player Taylor Crabb (Long Beach State/Punahou), Brad Lawson (Stanford/Punahou) and BYUH’s Jalen Reyes (Kamehameha) are among the college standouts who have played at the event in recent years. The tournament is a signature summer event for those playing more recreationally.

“The ‘Open Level’ division is something to see,” said Chun, “but it’s a good experience for the everyday recreational players and for those who just want to come down as a family and watch (the action).”

The Ko’olau Classic is set for July 27-28 at Le Jardin, which continues to work in partnership with LAC. “Le Jardin has been a driving force for creating opportunities for youths on the Windward side,” Chun said.

For more information, call 630-4565.

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