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Familiar faces, different styles

Former assistant basketball coach named A.D.
by Chris Alcantara, staff writer

In an unexpected move, HPU announced on April 4 its decision to promote quiet, reserved, long-time basketball assistant coach Russell Dung as Athletic Director and Head Coach.

Dung has worked alongside Sellitto at HPU since 1988, but before that Dung played under Sellitto at Maryknoll High School in Honolulu. Dung would later return to assist Sellitto with the boy’s varsity team and coached girl’s varsity basketball, from 1972-1982. Their relationship, which has spanned 30 years, has always been a winning one at that. While coaching at Maryknoll, the duo brought home two state championships and at one point went three straight seasons without a loss.

Since taking over the Sea Warriors, they have posted an impressive 295-136 record to go along with Hawai‘i’s only national championship in any sport in 1992-1993.

According to school officials, Dung has signed one-year contracts for both positions that will go into effect on July 1. Dung had been immediately considered to fill the vacant positions left by Sellitto following a strong recommendation from the former director after his retirement announcement. He turned out to be the unanimous decision, as HPU did not interview even a single other candidate for the job.

“Over the years I’ve learned a lot from him (Sellitto),” said Dung. “We see the same things on the court; we focus on the same mechanics, and hold the same opinion on basketball matters.”
Although Dung said he plans to maintain the integrity of the program built up by his former mentor, the Honolulu native has his own plans for the team’s future. “I will keep the same basic foundation, but I have a vision of how I want the game to be played. Now I’ve got to work to get the guys there, just sound and fundamental basketball.”

Dung plans to continue working with the existing staff including one recent addition. Former HPU basketball player Ben Valle was hired to help out on the bench. Valle was a Sea Warrior in 1985 on the only team in HPU history to finish a season ranked No. 1. With the team losing eight seniors this year, HPU’s basketball future also depends on Dung’s ability to bring in new talent. According to Dung, the team is in great need at the two-guard and the three-guard positions. “We’re looking forward to having the new guys come in here,” said Dung. “I’d like to try to work them into the system soon and hopefully they’ll all perform.”

“I might not scream as much or be as intense as past coaches here,” said Dung. “But I feel I can be just as effective in helping this team win.”


Ahuna named Senior Women's Administrator
by Chuck Cordill, staff writer

Starting this August, Hawai‘i Pacific University head volleyball coach Reydan “Tita” Ahuna can at least hang her many hats on the same post.

On April 4, University President Chatt G. Wright named Ahuna HPU’s Senior Women’s Administrator (SWA) for athletics.

Her appointment makes Ahuna the highest-ranking female official in HPU’s Athletics Department. Ahuna, who was recently named vice principal at Kalakaua Middle School, will leave that job and an 11-year teaching career to accept the position at HPU.


“I really appreciate the confidence President Wright and the school has in me to offer this position,” Ahuna, 36, said. “I’m really excited to be able to serve the university on a full-time basis.”

Ahuna is the first full-time women’s sports administrator at HPU, and she will wear an assortment of hats in her new position. As the SWA, she will work with HPU’s other sports administrators to oversee operations for the University’s athletic teams. She will function as compliance officer as well as represent HPU women’s interests at the local, conference, and national levels. In addition to continuing as the Lady Sea Warriors volleyball head coach, Ahuna will also assist Athletic Director Russell Dung with a variety of duties involving HPU athletic programs.

“Coach Dung has been a tremendous help to me over the years,” Ahuna said. “Knowing that he was going to be the new AD played a big part in my decision to accept the position. I really look forward to working with him.”

While her new responsibilities may seem daunting, Ahuna is well versed in multitasking. She took over the Lady Sea Warrior volleyball program six years ago and crafted it into a national power. During her tenure, her teams amassed a record of 130 wins, 34 losses and two NCAA Division II national titles.

Ahuna credits her family, as well as coach Dung, soon-to-retire AD Tony Sellitto, and assistant Alan Sato for helping her with the “balancing act” over the years. She also is grateful for the support shown by her colleagues and students at Kalakaua Middle School.

“I’ve always wanted to work for HPU on a full-time basis, but I love these kids too,” Ahuna said. “ I’m not even sure of everything my new job entails. But I’m going to immerse myself in it. That’s what drives me, accepting difficult challenges. I’m ready to start work.”


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