Chargers Alumnus Comes Back As Baseball Coach
As the new head baseball coach at Pearl City, Gavin Concepcion won’t need a lesson about its proud history. He lived it himself as a player, helping the Chargers to an OIA title in 1999.
The Chargers’ winning ways on the baseball diamond go back to Little League play in the community, in Concepcion’s view.
“From Little League on up, it always has been competitive here,” he said. “The talent has always been consistent.”
Pearl City missed the state tournament a year ago, but the program has thrived in recent years with four straight OIA titles (2007-2010), in addition to taking the 2011 Division I state crown under Mitch Yamato.
Mel Seki, who coached Concepcion at Pearl City, led the 2007 team to the OIA title before retiring. The other league titles came under Gary Nakamoto.
Concepcion is excited to leave his own mark as a coach.
He spent the 2007-2013 as an assistant at Kamehameha-Kapalama on Vern Ramie’s staff and is a scout in the Chicago Cubs organization.
“When the job opened up a few years ago, when I was at Kamehameha, I thought it would be great to be the head coach at Pearl City, but I didn’t think I was ready then,” he admitted. “When this opportunity came up, I talked to my family, we decided to give it a try, and here we are today. It’s been a lot of fun, and I’ve received a lot of great feedback from people. It’s a chance to give back what (the program) gave to me.
“It’s always fun to compete,” he added. “You want to have that competitive fire every time you step on the field.”
After graduation, Concepcion had a baseball scholarship to Lewis-Clark State College in Lewiston, Idaho.
After red-shirting his first year, he played three seasons with the Warriors under the legendary Ed Cheff before transferring to Hawaii Pacific University for his final year of eligibility.
Cheff, who won 16 NAIA titles while at Lewis-Clark State before he retired in 2010, was a key influence for Concepcion.
“He made a huge difference in my life as far as how I do things on and off of the field. The way he did things there is how we do things here. I bought into all aspects (of his coaching) — the way he ran things, got his info across and laid out a game plan.”
Pearl City was 3-9 last year in Yamato’s last season.
The Chargers officially opened preseason camp last week, and its OIA opener is set for March 4 at Leilehua.