Coach Bode Happy With His HPU Team, Happy With Hawaii Kai Life

By way of tennis, Hendrik Bode’s life already has seen a few surprises, and you can count living in Hawaii Kai as one of them.

“Coming to Hawaii was surreal,” he said. “Living here definitely never crossed my mind. I’ m from a very small town (Lehrer, Germany) of 3,000 people, where there are mainly potato fields and not a whole lot going on.”

Only seven years ago, Bode was a top tennis prospect, looking to play in the United States in college. He was all set to join a friend at a school in the South before reopening his recruitment.

But a few weeks later, Bode landed at Hawaii Pacific University, where he would become part of three NAJA tournament teams. “It was June by then (in 2008), and the coach (Stefan Pamplico) basically told me to come immediately. I love
it here.”

Today Bode is one of the top young coaches in the country, having guided HPU to a 21-0 mark so far in 2015. The Sharks leave Sunday for Surprise, Ariz., to compete in the NAJA Division IHI national championships. HPU is currently ranked No.
1 in the nation, having taken second last year. The team has been idle since the April 18 Packets championships.

“Three-and-a-half weeks is a long time not to be playing a match, but we can make it to our advantage if we do the right things,” Bode said.

The Sharks are happy to return to Surprise, where Packets championships also have been held. “We have a good idea of what is awaiting us,” he said. “Our group is even closer this year than last year, and they’ve worked extremely hard to get us to where we are now.”

Just as Bode hadn’t envisioned living in Hawaii, neither did he foresee a career in coaching. “I didn’t know I would coach — I almost grew into it.” After playing for HPU, Bode joined the coach- ing staff as a graduate assis- tant in 2010 and was promoted to a regular assistant position for the following season. In 2012, he took over HPU men’s program as head coach when Pamplico departed.

Since then, Bode’s teams have gone 76-10 (.918), and the Sharks are currently on a 37-match winning streak. “I was the natural choice to keep going forward with it,” he said.

In 2014, he repeated as Packets Coach of the Year when he guided HPU to a 23- 1 record and its first appear- ance in a national championship final since 2003. HPU beat 15 ranked teams and two DI schools along the way.

In his first two seasons, Bode also was named ITA West Region Coach of the Year and made a pair of appearances in the NAJA DIDI national quarterfinals.

Bode completed his last season as a player ranked No. 2 in the West Region and was named ITA Senior Male Player of the Year, ranking as high as No. 5 nationally during the year. He finished his three-year career at HPU with a 39-13 overall singles record, almost exclusively at the No. 1 position. He also posted a 45-15 career doubles record.

Bode’s personal life also has fallen nicely into line with his professional life. He is married to lifelong Hawaii Kai resident Lauren Conching, who is the Sharks’ women’s tennis head coach. The couple welcomed their first child, daughter Lana, six months ago.

“Everything I have has come through tennis,” he said.