Ishibashi much more than a coach


POSTED: Sunday, November 23, 2008

He loved playing the game, but Wade Ishibashi's legacy extended beyond the basketball court.

Ishibashi, 42, died last Sunday at Queen's Medical Center following a 2 1/2 -year fight with leukemia. He was the boys hoops coach at Keaau for five seasons.

Diagnosed with the disease in 2006, Ishibashi continued to coach the Cougars in the midst of chemotherapy treatments on Oahu. After receiving a bone-marrow transplant in January of this year at The City of Hope in California, Ishibashi was ready to return to Keaau as coach.

He fell ill last week, however, and returned to Queen's, where he was diagnosed with an infection. His family was with him when he died on Sunday.

Ishibashi was widely known for his skills as a life coach of sorts. He initiated “;circle talks,”; where players and coaches talked openly, yet privately, about issues.

“;Whatever we talk about stays with the team,”; point guard Kekai Cazimero said in a Star-Bulletin story in January 2007. “;That's our second family. He's like a second dad.”;

Ishibashi was still a player at Waiakea when he began coaching in 1981, starting the Delirious youth basketball club when he was 15. Over the years, he coached several players who became BIIF standouts, including Mea Wong, Aukai Wong, Jude Domizio, Cazimero and girls hoops standout Vicky Tagalicod.


Good timing

Over the years, Hawaii high schools have sent hundreds of girls volleyball players to colleges near and far, but there was no semblance of a postseason all-star tournament until the recent OC 16 Senior Invitational.

For OC 16, the task of organizing a postseason exhibition involving every ILH and OIA program was not simple, but ultimately worthwhile.

“;My boss (Mitzi Lehano) wanted to showcase the young women who play volleyball, and the leagues all bought in,”; OC-16 director of sports programming Dave Vinton said. “;It was the right timing. The gratifying thing is seeing the kids' faces. It's sort of like fantasy volleyball, seeing combinations you'd never see before.”;


Boost to players

One of the quickest, most effective ways to get video footage from football players to college recruiters is through Doris Sullivan.

For several years, the head of Pacific Islands Athletic Alliance has attended the annual American Football Coaches Association Conference, where recruiters are quick to gobble up any and all DVDs that Sullivan brings from Hawaii.

PIAA does not charge student-athletes for the service. There is a $2 charge for duplicating each DVD. For more information, contact Sullivan at 261-500 or e-mail .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).