University of Hawai‘i at Hilo Baseball Coach Joey Estrella will step down after 2013 season
HILO, Hawai‘i - University of Hawai‘i at Hilo Baseball Coach Joey Estrella will step down following the 2013 season.
Dexter Irvin, the director of athletics at UH Hilo, made the announcement on Friday, Dec. 14.
“The significance of this special individual, and his influence on young people, cannot be overstated,” Irvin said. “Coach Estrella has been a wise, caring and influential leader in the lives of our student athletes. He will be missed on the baseball field and in our department.
“The values and ethics that Coach E lives by, and has shared with us, will continue to be felt for many years.”
Estrella enters his 37th season at the helm of the Vulcans program with a 648-897-5 record.
“After 36 years, I feel it is time for a change for me and the program,” Estrella said. “Although I am in good health and still have a passion to coach and help student-athletes, it is time to pursue another chapter in my life.
“It is also a time for the program to have a new vision and path with hopes of continuing to make the program successful on the field and in the classroom. I am proud that baseball has had a good graduation rate and I hope the program can continue to attract good overall student-athletes.”
Starting the program in 1976 as a member of the NAIA, it took Estrella just a few years for his team to reach the post-season.
His first winning campaign came in 1980 with a 25-19 record that began a streak of 11 consecutive winning seasons.
During that string, his 1983 team set school marks with a 41-10 record and an .804 winning percentage, while the Vulcans made their first NAIA Area Playoffs.
In 1986, Hawai‘i Hilo swept through the Area Playoffs and made its first appearance in the NAIA World Series. Such success brought Estrella the NAIA District 29 and Area 1 Coach of the Year awards.
His teams also would make the World Series two of the next three years, and Estrella was selected the Area Coach of the Year in 1989.
In all, Estrella's teams appeared in three NAIA World Series, recorded five NAIA District Championships, and participated in 12 consecutive post-season playoffs.
Following 17 years in the NAIA, the 1993 Vulcans became an independent NCAA Division I program for 13 seasons before joining the NCAA Division II Pacific West Conference in 2007.
Off the baseball field, his program has been a staunch supporter of the Special Olympics for more than 30 years and has been the driving force behind the UHH Blood Bank of Hawaii Drive for more than 15 years.
Besides coaching, Estrella has been an assistant basketball coach (1976-80), athletic director (1980-89), assistant athletic director for external affairs (2009), and assistant athletic director for community engagement (2009-present).
A graduate of St. Joseph’s High School (1969), Estrella played basketball for the Vulcans before transferring to the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa.
He played three years of baseball for Head Coach Les Murakami and was the first recipient of the Jack Bonham Award that is given annually to a senior for outstanding academics, athletic participation, and community service.
He later started his coaching career as a graduate assistant at his alma mater (1975-76).
A 1974 graduate of Hawai‘i with a bachelor’s degree in secondary education, Estrella earned a master's of education in 1976.
A Hilo native, Estrella and his wife, Geri, have two children, Brandon and Allyson.