The University of Hawaii at Hilo has named Kallen Miyataki as the interim Vulcans head baseball coach with the pending retirement of longtime mentor Joey Estrella.
UHH athletic director Dexter Irvin announced the appointment Tuesday afternoon in a press release.
Miyataki, a former UHH associate head coach under Estrella will take over the NCAA Division II baseball program on April 14, following the Vulcans’ season-ending Pacific West Conference home games against Academy of the Art University. The Vulcans host AAU in doubleheaders on April 12-13 at Wong Stadium as Estrella wraps up his 36-year career at UHH.
Estrella will retire from his UHH job on June 30.
“I am excited that we have a qualified coach on our staff that can step in and run our baseball program,” Irvin said. “Kal has an extensive background, experience, and expertise to build upon a strong foundation, and help us become more competitive in the PacWest Conference.
“The timing of this appointment will help us not miss a valuable recruiting season and enable young men to make a strong choice and commitment to attend school and play baseball at UH-Hilo.”
During the search for a permanent full-time head coach, Miyataki will maintain his title and duties in the athletic department as associate athletic director.
“I am humbled and honored,” Miyataki said. “My philosophy is to develop life skills through the sport of baseball and become productive citizen in our communities.
“Winning will come as we develop.”
Miyataki was a standout baseball player for Waialua High School on Oahu. He then played four years for the Vulcans, providing Estrella with a versatile player and on-field leader while UHH played at the NAIA level. During those years in the NAIA, Estrella’s teams were very successful, advancing to regional and World Series action.
Miyataki later spent 12 years assisting Estrella, ending with the 2006 season.
After his UHH baseball coaching career, Miyataki continued his affiliation with the game as a coach and clinician throughout the state. For the past six years, he has been involved in the Major League Baseball RBI Baseball Program (Reviving Baseball Inner City) which teams up with the Boys and Girls Club of Hilo.
“This is a unique opportunity for Kal, our baseball program and the Hilo baseball community,” Irvin said. “Being a head coach at any level, especially in college, requires a personal commitment of time, support and resources.
“I look forward to seeing Kal build upon those available and committed resources to enhance baseball at UH-Hilo.”
Editor’s note: The UHH sports information office provided the background information on this story.