With the Rainbow Wahine’s 3–1 defeat of New Mexico State on Oct. 17, 2009, Head Coach Dave Shoji became just the second women’s volleyball coach in NCAA history to win 1,000 games.
Shoji was presented with the game ball, a plaque, a flat-screen television and a proclamation from Hawaiʻi Gov. Linda Lingle proclaiming Oct. 17 “Coach Dave Shoji 1,000th Win Day.” The following week, after the annual alumni game and a sweep of BYU–Hawaiʻi, Shoji was honored by a sideline full of his former players. Chancellor Virginia Hinshaw saluted his record in coaching student-athletes to success in both athletic and academic endeavors.
In an editorial, the Honolulu Star-Bulletin noted Shoji’s four national championships during a 35-year career in which he “combined coaching prowess with humility and integrity.” The paper called on the American Volleyball Coaches Association to undo its“snub or oversight” and induct Shoji into its Hall of Fame. (Former Wahine Deitre Collins-Parker, who played on two of Shoji’s national championship teams and now coaches at San Diego State, is an honoree.)
Shoji thanked his wife Mary, his players, the assistants coaches and athletics staff and, in particular, the fans. The typically humble coach also made a point of recognizing the two other UH Mānoa coaches to surpass the 1,000 mark: Jim Schwitters (tennis) and Les Murakami (baseball).
In 1974, Shoji became part-time head coach of the year-old volleyball program at age 28. They grew quickly together, taking their first national title just five years later with a five-game victory over Utah State. He went full time in 1981 and captured the national banner in 1982, 1983 and 1987. With a winning season every year since and post-season play in all but one, the program has consistently led the nation in attendance, averaging more than 7,000 per match since the Stan Sheriff Center opened in 1994.
A three-sport athlete at Upland High School in California, Shoji earned All-American honors in two of his three years as a UC Santa Barbara volleyball player. He received his bachelor’s degree in physical education in 1969, spent two years in the Army and coached the Kalani High School girls’ and boys’ volleyball teams before becoming assistant coach at Punahou School.
Volleyball is a family affair for the Shojis. Mary was an assistant coach for the Punahou girl’s team this year and all three children are involved in Stanford University volleyball—daughter Cobey works as director of volleyball operations for the women and sons Kawika and Erik play for the men.
Editor’s note: The third-ranked Wahine are 21-2 on the season and 11-0 in Western Athletic Conference play going into homecoming matches at 7 p.m. Nov. 6 against Fresno State and 5 p.m Nov. 8 against Utah State. The Sunday match is Senior Night—the last home game for this year’s seniors.