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by Kalamalama staff

HPU softball Coach Howard Okita was honored April 11 prior to the beginning of the HPU softball game against University of Hawai‘i-Hilo. The Hawai‘i Loa campus softball field, home to the Lady Sea Warriors, was named “Howard Okita Field,” in honor of the 15-year veteran head coach, who is still working as an assistant coach for the Lady Sea Warriors softball team.
“ Okita skippered the Sea Warrior program for 16 years, and is the most successful softball coach in HPU history,” said John Barry, HPU Sports Information and Marketing director at the dedication ceremony. Barry recounted the fact that Okita led the Hawai‘i Loa College softball program for five seasons before HPU merged with Hawai‘i Loa and the Mongooses became the Lady Sea Warriors. “In 1991,” Barry said, under Okita’s coaching, “the Mongooses won the NAIA National Championship and Okita was named the NAIA Softball Coach Of The Year.”
Okita joined HPU as an assistant coach in 1993 when HPU merged with Hawai‘i Loa College, and “he helped guide the program to its first NAIA National Tournament appearance,” Barry said, adding: “Okita was handed the reins in 1994, and the rest is history.”
Throughout his career as head coach for HPU, Okita was the most winningest active coach in NCAA Division II. He successfully led the softball team to 11 postseason appearances and a 508-214-3 record as head coach. He officially retired on Dec. 31, 2008, in order to spend more time with his family.



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