Star-Bulletin Sports

Thursday, June 7, 2001


Newly appointed University of Hawaii baseball coach
Mike Trapasso donned a new cap at Rainbow Stadium,
signalling the start of the post-Les Murakami era
for the Rainbows.

taking charge

Hawaii's new coach says the
program has 'infinite potential'

By Al Chase

Mike Trapasso's first full day in Hawaii was a busy one.

The new University of Hawaii head baseball coach had meetings with athletic department officials, met several Rainbows, was introduced to the local media, visited retired head coach Les Murakami and experienced his first "Call the Coach" show on KCCN Radio 1420-AM from Murphy's Bar & Grill last night.

"I feel we have a great candidate and head coach for the future," UH athletic director Hugh Yoshida said. "Mike brings great energy to the program and is an individual who can fit in with the people of Hawaii."

Trapasso opened his remarks yesterday by saying, "This is a job that, without question in my mind and I think most people in college baseball, has infinite potential. I'm humbled to be able to follow in the footsteps of coach Les and want to build on the great tradition he started. My family and I are excited about the challenge, excited about coming over here and becoming part of the community."

The St. Louis native went on to say his first priority is to put his staff together, then hit the recruiting trail, taking in as many of the summer showcase tournaments as possible.

"We're behind the 8-ball a bit as far as recruiting for the coming season, but that's OK. It's a challenge," Trapasso said.

"There are a number of guys I'm looking at (for assistants). I think it's important to have someone on the staff with ties to the islands, but I'm going to hire the best people for the job."

Trapasso will get a small increase in the $675,000 budget the baseball program operated with this past year.

"He asked that we increase the salary range of the first assistant coach a little and the second assistant coach substantially," said UH assistant athletic director Jim Donovan. "He also asked for a little more money for recruiting, and we've done all that."

Yoshida will recommend to the Board of Regents at their June meeting that Trapasso be hired with a three-year contract.

Murakami, who retired after this season and is the only full-time head coach UH has had, met Trapasso for the first time yesterday.

"We spent about an hour talking, but not about baseball," Murakami said. "I feel he is a good hire. He seems like an OK guy."

Trapasso's relationship with his players is based on communication and honesty. Strength and conditioning will be the first order of business this fall, and he wants a team that is fundamentally sound.

The foundation of his recruiting will be to keep the local players home, to create an atmosphere where they won't want to leave the islands.

"After that we'll go to the nearest region that has players, and that's the West Coast," he said.

During Trapasso's seven seasons at Georgia Tech, the Yellow Jackets posted a 294-138 (.681) record and went to the NCAA Tournament every year but one.

Figuring Tech needed to have 12 players in its 2001 recruiting class, Trapasso signed 17 recruits, knowing there was a good possibility four or five would be drafted and turn pro. He hadn't seen this year's full draft list as of yesterday afternoon, but was pretty sure Tech would lose four of his recruits.

On top of that, nine Tech players were drafted, including seven in the first 15 rounds.

UH Athletics
Ka Leo O Hawaii

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