Special Ed Teacher Named Na Ali‘i Head Volleyball Coach

Kory Toyozaki with nephew Chazten Alvarado and niece Karyna Alvarado. Photo from Kory Toyozaki.

A new era in Aiea girls’ volleyball is set to begin next week as first-year head coach Kory Toyozaki and Na Ali’i officially begin fall camp in preparation for the 2013 season.

Toyozaki is a relative newcomer to the program, having been Pearl City’s head coach the past two seasons, but she hardly is new to Aiea High, where she works during the day in the Special Education department. Her 2012 Charger team finished 11-7 overall last fall en route to an appearance in the New City Nissan Division I State Tournament.

Additionally, Toyozaki coached eight seasons at Leilehua before an earlier stint at Aiea in 2010, when she was Na Ali’i head junior varsity coach.

Aiea is building its 2013 team around veterans Megan Maafala-Maiava and Roiana Maafala.

On the eve of the 2013 season, Toyozaki recently took some time to visit with MidWeek‘s West Oahu Islander:

What is your earliest sports-related memory?

I remember going to Hawaii Islanders (pro baseball) games at Aloha Stadium. It made me wish I was part of a team.

Who has had the biggest impact on your coaching?

Richard “Longy” Okimoto (founder and head coach at Kamalii Volleyball Club). He taught me how to have fun and relax. And Bruce Hisinaga, who was my coach at Pearl City. He taught me the mental-toughness part of the game.

When did you know you wanted to be a coach?

I’d say right after graduating from Pearl City. I helped with summer league just before I left for college. I enjoyed helping.

What’s the most challenging aspect of coaching?

I enjoy instilling in them a commitment to the “team concept” and getting the student-athletes to trust the coaches and their team-mates wholeheartedly.

When you have free time away from the volleyball court, how do you spend it?

With my two favorite people – my niece (Karyna) and my nephew (Chazten). I’ve been hanging out with them all summer.

What motion picture could you watch over and over again?

The Proposal. It’s so funny, and Sandra Bullock is just the best.

What is one thing you couldn’t live without?

(The Facebook game) Candy Crush.

You are stuck on an Island and can have one food and one food only. What would it be?

Spam musubi.

Who are five musical artists that you would list among your favorites?

Gloria Estefan, Janet Jackson, Michael Jackson, Cecilio and Kapono, and The Bellas (from Pitch Perfect).

What is your favorite place to visit on the island?

My parents’ house. (Home of Kenneth and Kathy Toyozaki).

What faraway place would you most like to visit?

I’d have to go with my motherland, Japan.

Given the chance, what celebrity would you most like to meet?

(Actor) Tyler Perry. He’s very inspirational.