Departed Hawaii men’s golf coach remembered Hilo roots

  • Miyashiro

Lost amid the departure news of Mike Trapasso from the UH-Manoa baseball program, another coach who hit the Big Island recruiting trail also lost his job.

UH men’s golf coach Ronn Miyashiro, a Hilo High graduate, was not retained by UH athletic director David Matlin on black Tuesday, the same day Trapasso was let go, after 24 years.

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“We have decided to move in a new direction with our men’s golf program,” Matlin said. “Ronn has provided stability to our men’s golf program over the past 24 years and has done a lot with the local community. It’s not easy saying goodbye to someone who has been part of our program for so many years as both a student-athlete and coach, but we appreciate his dedication and service and wish him well.”

Miyashiro won BIIF titles in 1990 and ’91 and was hired at 23 years old, the youngest coach in UH history.

His 2007 team came one shot short of winning the program’s first title, the WAC championship. The runner-up finish is the highest in school history.

Miyashiro coached 2006 WAC champion Jarrett Hamamoto, a Waiakea graduate and a number of players who won the Manoa Cup, the state’s top amateur tournament, including Nainoa Calip (2014), a Kamehameha graduate.

He also recruited players from all over the globe, including foreign countries such as Australia, Canada, Guam, Japan, Tahiti, Thailand, and Western Samoa.

Miyashiro gave Big Island golfers the chance to play Division I golf on some of the best courses in the country.

During the 2021 season, the Rainbows played at Hapuna in the Amer Ari Invitational, at the Eugene Country Club, ranked No. 171 on Golf Digest’s America’s 100 Greatest in the Duck Invitational, and at La Quinta Country Club, rated as one of the finest in the Palm Desert and Palm Springs area, in the Big West Championship.

The Rainbows finished in eighth, one spot from last place.

In 2020, Trevor Hirata, a Waiakea graduate, and three-time BIIF champion, concluded his UH career.

In 2014, Calip, a Kamehameha graduate, finished his four-year career. The year before, it was Henry Park, a Kealakehe graduate, who completed his time at UH.

Calip’s brother Pono Calip, a Kamehameha graduate, golf at UH for three years, 2009 to ’11.

Hamamoto golfed for the Rainbows for two years, 2005 to ’06. He previously golfed at Air Force.

The Big Island connection is still alive. Isaiah Kanno, a 2020 Waiakea graduate, is on the roster.

There have been only two female Big Island golfers for the Rainbow Wahine, Megan Ueno, a 2008 Hilo High graduate, who golfed for one season as a freshman, and Melanie Matsuura, a 1998 Waiakea graduate, who won the state title her senior year and golfed at UH for four years.

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Stephen Bidne just completed his fourth season as the Rainbow Wahine coach. His assistant is Scott Simpson, a seven-time winner on the PGA Tour, who finished his second season.

Bidne took over for Lori Castillo, who retired in 2017 after nine seasons as the UH coach.

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