UH-Hilo softball coach Callen Perreira went out on top, retiring on Friday after 25 years, 694 wins, and as the winningest coach in school history.
Perreira had a 694-422-3 record in 25 years over two different stops in Hilo. He started with the Vulcans in 1990 and continued until 2009. He coached at College of Southern Nevada before returning to UHH in 2017.
UHH volleyball coach Sharon Peterson also had a 25-year tenure and a 511-251 record with seven national titles.
Perreira, a Hilo native, will reside full-time in Henderson, Nev., where he will work as a softball instructor for Z Cages.
“When I was asked to come back in 2017, I told athletic director Patrick Guillen that I would stay just three years,” Perreira said in a school release. “That turned into five. I was grateful to be asked back and thankful to coach this bunch of players.”
The Vulcans finished 19-13, including 16-8 in the PacWest during the 2021 Covid season, advanced to the NCAA West Regional, where they upset No. 1 seed Concordia and No. 4 Western Washington before falling to No. 2 Biola.
This year’s finish at the NCAA tournament (2-2) equals their best-ever postseason at the NCAA level, along with their 2-2 mark at the 2007 NCAA West Regional.
The Vulcans won two PacWest titles under his leadership (2004 and 2005) and made four NCAA postseason appearances. His 1992 team (34-11) won the NAIA District title and finished fourth at the NAIA World Series.
“Coming off a historical season, being just one game away from playing in the West Region Championship, played into the decision,” he added. “We all went through a lot with no fall practice (players worked out on their own) and were tested as COVID protocol over 30 times. The girls played their hearts out.
“Factored in with the amount of annual travel and having a great situation to step into (Z Cages) made it the right time.”
UHH athletic director Pat Guillen said in a release: “Coach Perreira has used the sport of softball to develop student-athletes to become the best that they can be as a person. He has impacted thousands of lives and made an indelible mark on the Hawaii softball landscape. He is very well-respected in our State and Big Island community and I couldn’t have been more proud to be able to work with him the past five years.”
The Vulcans will lose their best players and pitchers in shortstop Kirra Lincoln and center fielder Vevesi Liilii, and right-handers Valerie Alvarado and Leah Gonzales as well as second baseman Darian Obara, catcher Markie Okamoto and outfielder Kamalei Labasan.