Thursday at the State Capitol was Dave Shoji's day. The legendary Rainbow Wahine volleyball coach was honored for his many accomplishments during a 42-year coaching career at the University of Hawaii in three separate ceremonies.
"It's just overwhelming and humbling," said Shoji. "I've been so fortunate. It's been a great day. It just feels so good."
The first presentation was with Governor David Ige who proclaimed April 13, 2017 "Dave Shoji Day". The proceedings then moved to the Senate chambers where Sen. Kaiali'i Kahele, a UH men's volleyball player from 1994-1997, presented Shoji with a paddle. A visit to the House of Representatives concluded the event for Shoji who never thought this would have ever been a possibility when he first began coaching.
"That's the funny thing because people think about vision, but I had no vision," he said. "I was just trying to get by, trying to win games and trying to get to my next job. I didn't think this was particularly going to be a lasting one. Looking for a high school job, I just never could have imagine what was going to happen over the next 40 years."
The Hall of Fame coach has never longed for the spotlight, but Thursday he was the center of attention with many in attendance sharing stories of how he, and the program, had inspired them.
"It just shows you the scope of not just me," Shoji said. "It's just the program and how many people it reaches, and everyone seems to embrace the program. That's what overwhelming. There's nowhere else in the country where volleyball is treated like this."
Shoji said his treatments are finished and he's feeling great, though his golf game isn't quite where he wants it to be yet. Not in charge of the volleyball program for the first time in more than four decades, Shoji said he watched the spring games thinking they should be doing this or that, but retirement has been a breath of fresh air.
"It's just been a big load lifted off my shoulders and I can just relax now," he said. "The job itself is a little overwhelming and all the coaches know it's a 24/7 job. You don't get one day off. You think about your players all the time, where they are, what they're doing. That's all kind of gone away. I'll miss it, but then again, I won't miss it. I just passed the torch onto Robyn and I just hope everyone supports the team next year."
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