Waialua Athletic Director Opening Up More Sports Teams

After a long successful run as Kapolei boys soccer head coach, Bryce Kaneshiro is now making his mark at Waialua High School, where he was promoted to the school’s athletic director position late in the summer.

“I’m excited,” said Kaneshiro, who spent the last six years as an assistant AD at Kapolei High School, in addition to heading up one of the state’s most visible soccer programs. “Athletics has always been a big part of my life. I’ve always loved the fact that the lessons you learn through athletics are an extension of the classroom.

“I want to create opportunities for all students and get them involved.”

Among his early projects since taking over has been creating junior varsity programs for girls softball and boys baseball, in addition to returning girls varsity basketball to the fold.

The Bulldogs had been without varsity basketball the last couple of years because of a lack of interest, but that changed in recent months with renewed interest in the sport. Kaneshiro has hired Michael Moon as head basketball coach.

Waialua has enjoyed success in both softball and baseball in recent years at the varsity level, so the new JV programs should strengthen what already are solid programs.

For his part, Kaneshiro left behind a stellar boys soccer program at Kapolei. “I’ll miss coaching, but I’ll still be following them,” he said. But his promotion to the AD’s job at Waialua was an offer he couldn’t refuse.

“When I attended my first athletic directors conference (while an assistant AD at Kapolei), I knew right then that this was a job I wanted, and that I wanted to be an athletic director someday,” he said.

Kaneshiro is a 1990 graduate of Aiea High School, where he competed in both soccer and baseball. His experience as a student-athlete also had a profound impact on his future.

“When I look back on my high school years, the things I treasure the most are the teams I belonged to in baseball and soccer. The friendships that you make, and the work that’s involved, are things that are really valuable. A lot of my teammates are close friends today, as well as some of the people I competed against from other schools. Those connections are what make athletics memorable.”

Among his goals at Waialua is to increase participation among the students. Some Bulldog teams have gotten a late jump on their respective seasons.

“When I first arrived at football practice, we had only 12 kids at our summer (workouts),” he said. “By that time at Kapolei, we usually already had a lot (practicing day to day). A lot of it (low numbers) goes back to the kids not knowing when to start showing up. Athletics is a commitment, and it’s all about putting in the effort. We have to start at the same time as all of the other teams (at rival schools).”

As Kapolei’s first-and-only head boys soccer coach, Kaneshiro led the Hurricanes to three Division I state tournament appearances in the last four years in addition to OIA titles in both 2007 and 2011.

At Waialua High, Kaneshiro succeeds Sharon Yoshimura, who retired from the Department of Education last year.