Honolulu, HI (June 18, 2012) – The Hawai'i Pacific Athletics Department has announced its second hall of fame class. Softball coaching legend Howard Okita, men's tennis standout Mikael Maata, champion basketball coach Tony Selitto, volleyball star Gabriela Artigas and outstanding women's cross country runner Nina Christensen will take their place among HPU's best.
The inductions will take place on Friday September 28, 2012 at the S.H.A.R.X (Supporting HPU Athletes to Reach eXcellence) Benefit. The organization's mission is to create and maintain a foundation of support for HPU athletes. The event will be held at Pier 10 at Aloha Tower
Okita took over in 1988 as the head softball coach at Hawai'i Loa College, soon he continued a winning tradition he started in the Hawai'i high school ranks. In 1991, he was named National Coach of the Year as he led the Mongoose to the NAIA National Championship.
He joined HPU after the schools merged as an assistant in 1993 and became the head coach in 1994. As a Sea Warrior, he lead HPU to six more NAIA tournament appearances from '93-'98. He won the PacWest Championship three times and led HPU to the NCAA tournament in 1999 before becoming co-head coach in 2002. As co-head coach he won two more PacWest titles and made two more NCAA appearances.
In 2009, he took a role as an assistant but still remained heavily involved. The Sea Warriors won the PacWest and went to the NCAA three more times and won the NCAA National Championship in 2010. Okita was a key member of the staff that was named the National Coaching Staff of the Year that season. Overall, as a Sea Warrior "Coach O" has a record of 701-274 and has taken HPU to the postseason 12 times. Okita remains an assistant and has announced that 2013 will be his final season in the dugout.
Maata may be the most dominant player to ever pick up a racquet at HPU. He was a seven-time All-American, four times as a singles player and three times in doubles. He led HPU to the NCAA National Championship final in 2001 and 2003. He was regarded as one of the best singles players in the country from 2001-2003, he was ranked in the top five in the final rankings each year.
Matta earned his MBA from HPU in 2005 and is currently a Financial Advisor for Wealth Strategy Partners in Honolulu.
Similar to Okita, Selitto started his college coaching career in 1988 after a successful run in Hawaii on the high school level. In 1993, Selitto and his Sea Warriors captured the first and only national collegiate basketball championship in the state. That year, "Tulsa Tony" led HPU to a 30-4 record beating Oklahoma Baptist in 88-83 in the thrilling NAIA championship game. He led the Sea Warriors to the NAIA tournament seven times, the NCAA tournament once, and complied a record of 307-153 in 17 years on the sidelines.
After retiring in 2002, Selitto returned to HPU in 2008 for two seasons. In the 2009-2010 season, he notched 19 wins, the most HPU basketball (men or women) has had since he last did it in 1998-1999. Selitto is now retired and still lives in Hawaii.
Artigas, a setter, was a key cog in the 1990 NAIA national championship volleyball team. She was named the NAIA All-Tournament National Championship Team MVP. She was a three-time NAIA All-American including 1990 when she was named to the First Team. She was All-District four times, including twice on the first team. She also made the 1989 NAIA All-Tournament National Championship Team. Artigas played in 348 matches collecting 3,145 assists, 1,231 digs and 89 aces. She still holds the record for most assists in a match with 71, doing it twice.
Aside from her stats and awards Artigas was a team leader, being named captain all four years. In 1990-1991, she was the District 29 Top Scholar-Athlete-Citizen. Artigas is a Sea Warrior for life. After her playing career she became the head coach at HPU for the 1994 and 1995 seasons where she tallied a record of 26-24. Currently she is a professor of computer science at HPU.
Christensen was a staple on the national cross country stage in her career from 1999 to 2003. She competed all four years at the NCAA Championships, earning All-American honors three times. She was a four-time All-Region performer, winning the race in 1999 and 2001. She won seven local races during her time as a Sea Warrior including the Great Aloha Run, the Niketown 5k, the Pearl Harbor 10K and the Hibiscus Half Marathon.
After her eligibly was up, Christensen earned her MBA from HPU in 2005. She returned to her native Denmark where earned several silver and bronze medals at the Danish Championships. She currently is a Project Manager for an IT company in Denmark.
Single tickets and tables are available for the event. Log onto goseawarriors.com and click the "Hall of Fame" link under the "Athletics Dept." tab for more information.