'Iolani coach Yonamine chooses to focus on his kids


POSTED: Friday, January 16, 2009

The seasons of life are changing for Dean Yonamine.

With two fast-growing children, the longtime 'Iolani coach decided this year would be his last as head coach of the Raiders. His resignation, announced earlier in the week, takes effect after the upcoming season.

“;My two kids are getting older,”; Yonamine said of his daughters, who are in the seventh and third grades. “;Since I took over in the summer of 1996, my daughter was born in '96. Her whole life, baseball has kind of been the main thing.”;

With summer leagues and offseason training, baseball at 'Iolani is a 10-month responsibility each year, Yonamine said.

“;I'm not burnt out. The head guy has the responsibility and I don't have that kind of time now in my life. Instead of shortchanging the kids, it's best I move on,”; he said. “;If they need someone to hit fungos and be on the field, I'll be there.”;


Tonga ready for visits

The Sarkisian effect is on.

Kahuku's Aulola Tonga, a Star-Bulletin All-State first-team safety, has a busy three weeks ahead. Tonga, a 6-foot-3, 205-pound senior, is a key part of Kahuku's basketball team, but he'll be gone for two of the next three weekends.

This weekend, Tonga will visit UCLA, which has already secured verbal commitments from Punahou running back/receiver Dalton Hilliard and receiver Robby Toma. Next week, Tonga makes an official visit to Hawaii.

After that, he trips to Washington, where former USC assistant coach Steve Sarkisian is the new head coach. Sarkisian was USC's point man for recruiting in the islands. Tonga seems quite excited about helping the Huskies turn their fortunes around—should he choose UW.


Moving on

The series of technical fouls that led to a premature end to the Nanakuli-Leilehua girls basketball game on Tuesday is another learning experience, Golden Hawks coach Gerald Lum said.

His team was whistled for four of the five technicals, and when a collision at midcourt led to an ejection of a Nanakuli player, all parties agreed to end the game with 3 minutes left.

“;Part of it is my fault,”; Lum said of the collision play, which happened with Nanakuli down 21 points. “;One of my girls was a little too slow (to foul), and instead of fouling, she pushed (the Leilehua player). They called an intentional foul, but there were some words between them.”;

Leilehua coach Elroy Dumlao saw it a bit differently.

“;The girl literally ran from halfcourt and pushed our girl from the back, a blind shove,”; he said.

Nanakuli has a young, inexperienced team this season. Lum, with 17 years of coaching under his belt, is optimistic about his players' development.

“;They're still good girls,”; he said. “;They really are.”;

Lum said a couple of his players drew technicals after responding to hard hits that weren't called, but he firmly believes there's still no place for retaliation.

“;My girls understand where I'm coming from. We've always talked to the kids about how you represent Nanakuli. We can win with class or lose with class,”; Lum said. “;Anger unfocused is just rage. Anger focused, you can get results.”;