Muramaru’s 25th Season A Winner

Dunn Muramaru

Dunn Muramaru. Lawrence Tabudlo photo

Dunn Muramaru loves the game of baseball so much, he even heads up to the ball field at Mid-Pacific Institute on his days off.

“I’ll get up on Sunday morning and if I don’t go fishing, I’ll get over there around 9. By 10 or so, I’m hitting ground balls to whoever shows up,” he says.

Muramaru, 57, is often described with words like legendary and tremendous integrity. But the word that the longtime coach likes best is teacher.

“As long as the players want to learn, it’s fun,” he says. “It’s all about being a teacher of the game.”

Muramaru has been teaching baseball for 35 years – the first 10 at Kalani High School and the last 25 at Mid-Pacific. Since 1987 he’s been the Mid-Pac head coach; 25 years at the helm of one of Hawaii’s most heralded baseball programs – a program that Muramaru built. A quarter of a century in the same dugout shows loyalty, commitment and a willingness to work through the many challenges that go along with being there year-in and year-out.

He won his first state championship there in 1990, the first of back-to-back-to-back championships, and has guided the Owls to four state titles overall. Mid-Pac also has won eight ILH crowns, finished runner-up four times, and been among the final top three in the state seven more times. Of his nearly 400 ILH wins at Mid-Pac, his winning percentage tops 70 percent. Many of his players have gone on to star at UH and in the professional ranks. Virtually all of his former players speak of him with reverence.

“I like players who rally around each other,” he says. “We start off each practice with a quote. There was one the other day that said something like ‘It’s easy to pick up your team-mates when they make a great play – the really great teams pick each other up when things go wrong.’ I’ve seen this year’s team come together like that,” he says. “It makes a real difference, and I’m really hoping we can win it. These kids deserve it.”

This year’s Mid-Pacific team has been ranked No. 1 off and on this year, and is in a hard-fought battle with Punahou and Kamehameha for the ILH crown and the top seed in next month’s HHSAA state championships.

Muramaru teaches the little things. His quiet, lowkey demeanor belies his inner intensity and competitiveness. He is soft-spoken and humble on the outside, but always driven to excel.

His practices at the beautifully manicured baseball field at Mid-Pac are run with precision. His players are like top students, attentive to his every word, and they work on the field afterwards.

“They really care,” he says. When game time comes, his teams play each contest well-prepared and fundamentally sound.

And Muramaru’s son Cal, a sophomore outfielder and pitcher, is on the team this year.

“I guess that means I’ll be coaching at least a couple more years,” he says with a laugh.