Pearl City High School Athletic Director, Reid Shigemasa is on “phase three” of a journey that will eventually define his legacy. Three is the magic number. Shigemasa has been a multiple sport student athlete and a championship coach for the Chargers before becoming the schools athletic director in 2008. He is also the schools “third” athletic director since the school first opened its doors back in 1971.
Back then, the school was basically under construction. Everything was new including a brand new athletic department. The man at the helm in the early 70’s was Athletic Director Bino Neves. He has the distinction of being the schools first AD. The school honored Neves by naming the Football Complex, “Bino Neves Stadium.” Former Chargers Varsity Basketball coach Roy Ichinose succeeded Neves as A.D. Shigemasa played for Ichinose in the late 80’s at Pearl City.
This is Shigemasa’s time and tenure. He inherited an athletic program with a long history of success, one in which he has played a big part as a player and former Coach of the Year. Being a leader comes naturally for him. That leadership quality is part of his philosophy and is exactly what he is looking for in his student athletes and coaching staff.
The upcoming 2009-2010 school year will be his biggest challenge to date as the current economic crisis begins to cut into high school athletic programs across the State. I sat down with him recently in his office which is located inside the schools gymnasium. We chatted about his job as Athletic Director and the future of his Pearl City Chargers athletic programs.
Q: What was the feeling like being chosen as the next Athletic Director at Pearl City High School and the lineage that preceded you?
A: “I’m lucky to be back. It’s not where you always have an Athletic Director’s position open. You gotta be at the right place at the right time. I was fortunate.
As a student I played multiple sports. I was not able to be under Bino Neves who was the first A.D. but I was fortunate to be under Roy Ichinose who was the second. I actually played basketball for him, he was my coach.”
Q: How do your connections to Pearl City and the community help you in your job as Athletic Director?
A: “Growing up in Pearl City, playing for Pearl City and coming back, obviously I know the community. I know the school. I know the philosophy to build a legacy and building the good morals and values of the student athletes.”
Q: Can you reflect back on your coaching career at Pearl City and the success that came with the experience?
A: “I had a good 10 years you know, coaching boys’ volleyball and winning multiple OIA Championships and going to every State tournament. But again, I was fortunate. I selected good kids, not maybe the best athletic but people I could mold that I know could do the job for me. It’s the same thing here, as an Athletic Director making sure that the coaches can be molded, are dedicated and hardworking. Not purely just X’s & O’s.”
Q: Pearl City is known for having strong youth league sports programs and teams. Does your athletic program extend out into the community and schools?
A: “This year is the first year that we started a Highlands recruiting pep rally. We went down with coaches and we sat down with all the 8th graders and showed them an inspirational video and got them all pepped up and even our great Band was there. It was really good. You could see the passion in there where the kids want to come out and they were kind of inspired.”
Q: How about the support from the community for Pearl City High School Athletics?
A: “Obviously with baseball, soccer, football you have a good supporting cast of community members coming out because they have been watching them, family, friends. We have been slowly trying to build more of a community base. At Pearl City we never had a booster club. So slowly we are tying to work with having things like sending letters out. I even created a web site for our school athletic program but it’s going to take some time. The community is out there to try and help. I have to go out and find out who is willing to give us that time and effort. We need to create that close niche but we need to start creating that especially during these hard times.”
Q: I see you have practice going on in your gym, do you have teams playing during the summer?
A: “People think the summer is the slow period but actually its not. This is a time where the coaches can actually go out and work with some of these athletes for a short time. It’s what we call the dead period. It’s a time where coaches can work on leagues and making sure that the players are in preparation for their regular seasons. To me, the summer is pretty hectic making sure everybody has ample time on the court,ample time on the field, to make sure everybody has some time to practice.”
Q: Can you explain the decision making process that moves schools between the Red and White Divisions such is the case with your football team?
A: “That is more of a League decision so it comes back to my decision. Because the League for the OIA has a certain amount of Red spots and White spots to be placed in it was my choice during the middle of the year to be placed back in the White. So every 2 years we recalculate what you did and how you did in the JV and Varsity level. If you have a certain number of points you are going up to the Red if you don’t have the points you go in the White and you are going to stay there for 2 years.
This year we are supposed to be in the Red but with the change of coaches I have to make sure that our players and coaches have a good transition to work their way up. Hopefully we can do that within the next three or four years where we can go back to the Red and represent. To me, right now that decision of going to the White was my decision.”
Q: Where do you see the athletic program in the next few years?
A: “Well my goal is to maintain the technology. Make sure the web site is available for the parents to have easier access to forms. It takes a lot of forms to be an athlete. Another thing is to bring more pride back to the school, putting up banners which we did in the gym. Paint more purple out there. Try to have a better facility and better equipment but again it deals with money, and if it doesn’t have money, our coaches are out there with their own man power with their own money trying to improve the facility.
The main thing is these student athletes understanding that to be an athlete it’s more than just athleticism. It’s going to be obviously in the classroom. Its discipline and consistency in making athletes understand what it takes to be a Charger.”