Shoji should be shoo-in


POSTED: Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Dave Shoji achieved an exceptional milestone on Saturday by becoming only the second women's college volleyball coach to record 1,000 victories. For 35 years, Shoji has combined coaching prowess with humility and integrity at the helm of the University of Hawaii volleyball Wahine, only to be left out of the volleyball coaches' Hall of Fame, which he should have entered years ago. Snub or oversight?

Shoji's outstanding record as mentor of the team includes four national championships. Having achieved splendid heights at an early point, he did not ask for a raise until a coach from another sport explained that other coaches were unable to make a case for their desired salary hikes unless he put in for a raise.

His omission from the American Volleyball Coaches Association's Hall of Fame is puzzling, since the only other college volleyball coaches to reach 1,000 victories, both active UCLA coaches, are honorees: Andy Banachowski, the women's coach, was among the 23 original entries when the honor roll was created in 2003, and Al Scates, the men's coach, was added the following year.

The 48 honorees include 35 successful coaches, nine executives and four outstanding players who later became coaches. The latter include Deitre Collins-Parker, who as a player under Coach Shoji anchored UH to back-to-back national championships in 1982 and 1983 and was winner of the Broderick Cup as the nation's top female collegiate athlete. She went on to coach at the University of Houston and presently San Diego State.

The association explains on its Web site that highly successful coaches are chosen on the basis of an “;outstanding career as a coach/educator that has brought exceptional distinction to the individual, the institution and/or the AVCA”; after 15 years of coaching.

Bringing “;distinction”; to the selection organization? Indeed, Banachowski received an award by the association in 1992 for his part in establishing the AVCA in 1992, the association states in summarizing his credentials. Collins-Parker is an AVCA member, it states in her summary.

Ironically, Shoji's sons, Kawika and Erik, now members of Stanford University's men's volleyball team, were selected to this year's AVCA 10-member All-America first team, and Erik was named newcomer of the year.

Asked about his exclusion, Shoji told the Star-Bulletin's Dave Reardon, “;Well, the AVCA Hall of Fame is something fairly recent. I wasn't really aware of it until recently. It's a lengthy process.”;

Obviously, politeness and patience are among Shoji's many attributes.