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patsy dung headshot

Patsy Dung, the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa women’s basketball program’s first head coach, died on March 4, at age 87, leaving a legacy that extends far beyond the court.

people in jerseys smiling
1974–75 Rainbow Wahine basketball team photo

A pioneer in advancing women’s sports in Hawaiʻi, Dung was hired by UH women’s athletic director Donnis Thompson in 1974 to lead the university’s newly established women’s basketball program. She coached the team while also serving as a physical education teacher at Farrington High School and led the inaugural Rainbow Wahine squad to a 4-2 record in the 1974–75 season. She spent five years as UH head coach, with the schedule growing each season from six games to 17 in the 1978–79 season. The Rainbow Wahine went 11-6 in her final season and Dung closed her tenure with a cumulative record of 31-20.

Following her UH career, Dung continued to teach at Farrington until her retirement in 1993. In addition, she founded the Kalihi Jets, a community club team which provided girls and women the opportunity to play organized team sports.

Services for Dung are pending.

“Patsy Dung was a trailblazer,” said current Rainbow Wahine Head Coach Laura Beeman. “She opened up opportunities for every coach who followed in her footsteps. The Rainbow Wahine Basketball program is where it is today because of her commitment years ago. We want to send our love and support to her family in this very difficult time.”

“Right up until recently, Patsy attended all the games, still supporting the program,” said former Rainbow Wahine Head Coach Vince Goo. “When I was coaching, she sat in the same section, same seat and always had a smile on her face when we won. All of the successes we had and all of the success Laura Beeman is having, can be attributed directly to Patsy. She started it all way back when. …She was always a positive person and I enjoyed our many conversations about the game of basketball. She will be sorely missed.”

“Without her sacrifices and her willingness to coach the Wahine team from 5:30 after a long day teaching at Farrington, so many of us may not have had the opportunity to play on the Wahine Basketball team after Title IX,” said Sabrina McKenna, Hawaiʻi Supreme Court judge and former Rainbow Wahine player. “But Coach Dung taught me about much more than basketball; to me, she exemplified leadership and justice.”

For more reaction following Dung’s passing, visit the UH Mānoa athletics website.

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