Ahuna’s exit leaves HPU guessing
HOW can you let Tita Ahuna go?
You can't. You just can't.
Now, to be fair to Hawaii Pacific University, if someone has decided to go, she's decided to go.
And by the time someone drops a life-decision bombshell like that on you, it's already too late.
And maybe after 10 years, as hard as she's worked (and even as much as she's loved it), maybe one of the reasons was that it's just time for a break.
OK, there's your benefit of the doubt.
But, come on.
Ahuna deliberately had very little to say about resigning as HPU volleyball coach and senior woman administrator this week, but let's listen to what those few words were.
To our Jerry Campany: "I have to stand up for what I believe in and instead of sticking around, I am going to leave."
In an e-mail statement that she sent out: "In regards to my resignation, I will say this, it was beyond my control ..."
She doesn't say she's tired. She doesn't say it's just time. She doesn't say she's decided she doesn't like volleyball anymore. Doesn't say she's going to go play a lot of golf.
She said she's standing up for what she believes in. This was beyond her control.
Sounds like she thought she had no choice but to go.
Again, there can be all kinds of other mitigating factors. There always are. But if you lose Tita Ahuna this way, you've blown it. Big time.
How can you let this happen? You can't. You just can't.
But we hear that HPU's administration was shocked, shocked, that she would leave.
OK, that's fair. Of course you're blindsided at that moment. Of course. But let the news sink in for a few hours, or even a day. Look back in retrospect. Connect a few dots. There's really no reason you could think of that would make sense?
After 10 years as the ultimate Sea Warrior she's suddenly impulsive and mysterious and bolts without explanation right out of the blue?
OK, it's possible.
But, come on.
We've all been surprised by something before, in our lives. It happens. But then the more we think about it, the more we realize we might have seen it coming. We understand how it happened.
It's OK for me and you not to know the reason Tita felt compelled to leave, but HPU better know. And if it truly doesn't know it should think long and hard and figure it out. Because you can't lose a Tita Ahuna this way. You just can't.
"She had taken a month's vacation and returned with the news," HPU athletic director Jill Ward told the Star-Bulletin on Wednesday night. "I had no idea it was coming, but it certainly is a huge loss."
It certainly is. It's staggering, especially to a small Division II school like Hawaii Pacific. It would be one thing if she was just a future hall of fame coach, with two national titles, a gaudy winning percentage, several conference crowns. Well, that would be a big loss.
And it would be another thing if she was just who she was -- not just in name recognition, as a volleyball institution (at her young age) in this state, but who she is with her aloha and her heart. What she means to the program, and the women who play for her. That would be a big loss, too, whether she won consistently or not.
But HPU had the whole package, in one person. Now, she's gone. Why? She has to stand up for what she believes in, Tita said.
It was a total surprise, HPU said.
It's been a crazy time at HPU these past few years. AD and hoops coach J.D. Barnett was here and gone in less than a year, and his basketball successor lasted just a single season, too. A handful of coaches have stepped down in the last few years. There's been one athletic director after another. Now this. Now Tita, too.
We have no idea why.
We don't have to know. But HPU should think about it, long and hard. Because you can't have a loss like this. You just can't.