After 1,119 games, 694 victories and having coached more than 500 University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo student-athletes, Vulcan head softball coach Callen Perreira is retiring after 25 years. Perreira leaves the Big Island as the winningest coach in any sport in UH Hilo history.
He compiled a 694-422-3 record over two different stops in Hilo. He began his Vulcan career in 1990 and continued through 2009. He left and coached at College of Southern Nevada and Silverado High School before returning to UH Hilo in 2017.
“When I was asked to come back in 2017, I told athletic director Patrick Guillen that I would stay just three years,” Perreira laughed. “That turned into five. I was grateful to be asked back and thankful to coach this bunch of players.”
The Vulcans won two Pacific West Conference titles under his leadership (2004 and 2005) and made four NCAA postseason appearances. His 1992 team (34-11) won the NAIA District title and finished fourth at the NAIA World Series.
“Coach Perreira has used the sport of softball to develop student-athletes to become the best that they can be as a person,” said Guillen. “He has impacted thousands of lives and made an indelible mark on the Hawaiʻi softball landscape. He is very well-respected in our state and Big Island community and I couldn’t have been more proud to be able to work with him the past five years.”
Perreira’s last two seasons included working through COVID-shortened seasons and all the challenges that came with that. The Vulcans wrapped up 2021 with one of their most successful campaigns, advancing to the NCAA West Regional tournament and upsetting the No. 1 and 4 seeds in Concordia and Western Washington.
The Hilo native will now reside full-time in Henderson, Nev. and serve as the softball instructor for Z Cages.
“Coming off a historical season, being just one game away from playing in the West Region Championship, played into the decision,” he added. “We all went through a lot with no fall practice (players worked out on their own) and were tested as COVID protocol over 30 times. The girls played their hearts out. Factored in with the amount of annual travel and having a great situation to step into (Z Cages) made it the right time.”
Unmatched community support
Perreira will miss a lot about his unique experience in Hilo, but topping the list will be his players and the community support.
“I will miss the day-to-day interactions of having players come by my office, seeing them grow through four years and then leaving with one or two degrees,” he said. “It is so gratifying to see their growth on and off the field.
“Additionally, the community support in Hilo is unmatched anywhere. The people are generous and supportive all the time, win or lose. They donate their time, their money and their aloha spirit through feeding the players and supporting them. That will be something I miss greatly.”