Monday, February 6, 2017
The Coach | Dave Shoji
I could be making an inaccurate statement but in Hawaiʻi, two of the most popular sports are football and volleyball. I grew up watching the UH volleyball teams at the Stan Sheriff Center with my family and on field trips. From my first volleyball game till now, head coach Dave Shoji of the Rainbow Wahine has remained a constant in the sports world. Shoji is an icon in Hawaiʻi from his calm demeanor to his records in the history books.
28-year-old Shoji took over the women's team in 1975 and has continued his winning tradition for the past 42 seasons. In just four years, Shoji led the wahine to UH's first-ever national championship before making them back-to-back NCAA national champions in 1982 and 1983. The wahine won another national title in 1987 before missing the beat in later NCAA runs. After a series of disappointing losses in the tournament, the wahine returned to glory, making the semifinals round of the 2000-2003 NCAA contest. In 2003, the senior wahine became Shoji's winningest class. The wahine reached the semifinals again in 2009, adding to Shoji's legendary resume.
Shoji was twice named national coach of the year in 1982 and 2009. He earned the all-time winningest coach in NCAA Div. I women's volleyball history in 2013 after he won his 1,107th game. Shoji was the coach of the 2005 NCAA Div. I 25th Anniversary Women's Volleyball Team and is a USA Volleyball All-Time Great Volleyball Coach. Coach Shoji is a member of the AVCA Hall of Fame, was named AVCA West Region Coach of the Year 10 times and WAC Coach of the Year 10 times.
The day that Shoji retires will be a bittersweet moment in volleyball history. Hawaiʻi fans have grown up with Shoji on the court and will miss him immensely. Shoji is irreplaceable and UH will have a difficult time finding a suitable successor for one of the greatest coaches in the history of the sport.