[ RAINBOW BASEBALL ]
Ga. TechMIKE TRAPASSO is the new head baseball coach at the University of Hawaii.
Stellar coach arrives today
after accepting a call to skipper
the UH baseball team
By Al Chase
Everything fell into place over the last 72 hours for Trapasso and university officials.
"There has been pretty steady contact throughout the whole thing with (UH Athletic Director) Hugh Yoshida," Trapasso said. "The neat thing about this is that I know Pat Murphy. We're friends and we've talked all along, so it's not a big surprise to me he decided to stay at Arizona State.
"I did know what was happening. I started talking with Hugh Yoshida and Jim Donovan about 8 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (2 p.m. HST) yesterday. We got all the i's dotted and t's crossed, and I went back to the office to receive their fax. I signed the contract and faxed it back to them."
Murphy announced this morning he was staying at Arizona State after deciding new Arizona State athletic director Gene Smith was serious about the Sun Devils remaining among the nation's elite teams. A new compensation package topping a $300,000 offer from UH and $2 million in renovations to Packard Stadium helped Murphy make up his mind.
"The decision was very easy," Murphy said.
Trapasso will arrive in Honolulu late today and be introduced at a press conference tomorrow afternoon.
The naming of Trapasso to take over the Rainbow program ends a 13-month search to replace retiring head coach Les Murakami, who announced in May 2000 that the 2001 season would be his last after 30 years at the helm.
Murakami suffered a stroke Nov. 2, and assistant Carl Furutani ran the team this past season.
Coaching experience: Assistant coach, Georgia Tech, pitchers and recruiting coordinator, 1994-2001; assistant coach, South Florida, pitchers, 1991-1994; assistant coach, Missouri, pitchers and outfielders, 1989-91.
Education: Master's degree in health education, health promotion and wellness education, Missouri, 1991; bachelor's degree in business administration and marketing, Oklahoma State, 1987.
Professional experience: Three seasons in the Atlanta Braves and St. Louis Cardinals organizations.
College experience: Left-handed pitcher, Oklahoma State, 1983-1985.
Honors: Finalist for the Golden Spikes Award, 1982; member, USA Pan American team, 1983.
Trapasso just completed his seventh season as the recruiting coordinator and assistant coach for Georgia Tech. He was named by Baseball America last November as the top assistant coach ready for and deserving of becoming a head coach at a Division I school.
"I think it's a great opportunity. I think it a great place," said Trapasso, who honeymooned here with his wife, Catherine, 15 years ago.
"You just look at the appeal of the program, the tremendous facility, the tremendous support from the community and the support Hugh Yoshida and the administration are giving to have a successful program.
"The ability to recruit and have a product you can recruit to is the most important factor. The job Les Murakami has done makes it easy for whoever the next coach is, and I'm fortunate it's me. I'm humbled to be able to follow Les."
During his time at Georgia Tech, Trapasso built a pitching staff from the ground up. He tutored a freshman-dominated group in his first season that earned 25 of Tech's 38 wins. The same unit, led by current major leaguer Kris Wilson, won 46 games in 1997 and finished second in earned run average in the Atlanta Coast Conference.
Each of his staffs has been led by a 10-game winner. His 1997 staff tied a school record with eight shutouts, and the 1998 staff set school records for total strikeouts (618) and strikeouts per nine innings (10.0).
Trapasso's last six recruiting classes have been ranked fourth, 18th, seventh, first, 14th and 11th by Collegiate Baseball. He has developed nine all-conference pitchers and five who have received All-American honors.
During his 10 seasons as a college coach, 18 of Trapasso's pitchers have signed professional contracts, 10 from Georgia Tech.
He also stated that being UH's second choice is not important.
"It doesn't really matter to me. The only thing that matters is the end result: I get the opportunity to work at a place with great facilities and great potential," Trapasso said.
Trapasso was an integral part of the Oklahoma State pitching staff that participated in the 1984 and 1985 College World Series. In 1984 he led the Big Eight Conference and was fifth nationally with a 1.38 earned run average.
That same year, in the Cowboys' opening CWS game, he out-dueled longtime major league pitcher Billy Swift and the Maine Black Bears.
Trapasso will be here for two days, then it's back to Atlanta to clean out his office at Georgia Tech, put his house up for sale, put a staff together and then hit the road in search of recruits.
"I have to get out there for the early signing period in November for the 2003 season," he said, "and I have to look for guys for next season. That will be difficult, but you have to get out there and try."
Hawaii has not signed any recruits for the 2002 season.
Ka Leo O Hawaii