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Star-Bulletin Sports

Tuesday, May 16, 2000

R A I N B O W _ B A S E B A L L


Murakami’s reign
as UH baseball
coach to end

The 30-year Rainbow skipper
announces this morning that
next season will be his last

By Al Chase


Les Murakami will return to coach the University of Hawaii Rainbow baseball team next year, athletic director Hugh Yoshida announced today.

The announcement at a morning news conference ended speculation that Murakami would resign, retire or be fired.

Following the 2001 season, Murakami, who will turn 65 next summer, will retire.

"I talked to Hugh for a long time and he knows exactly where I'm coming from," Murakami said this morning. " I wanted another year for two reasons. One, for transition. Two, I built the program and I want to go out on a high note.

"I want to be in the process of selecting my successor. I want someone who has integrity and character who can uphold the standards of the program."

The agreement allows Murakami to coach one more season without the burden of his future hanging over the Rainbows' head.

"We came to an agreement that Les will be with us for another year and we're very gratified for that," said Yoshida.

"Les is someone you always know where he's coming from. He's honest, honest to a fault, and he has always been a winner."

Murakami was very direct in remarks at the team's annual awards banquet last night. He said all the speculation in the media about his status affected the Rainbows, that the players tried too hard to win to save his job and this contributed to the disappointing season.

Murakami has completed 30 years as the Rainbows' only head coach since the program gained NCAA Division I status.

His 1,079 victories puts him among the top 15 active coaches in the country in that category.

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