The University of Hawaii at Hilo has named Kallen Miyataki its interim head baseball coach with the pending retirement of longtime coach Joey Estrella.
UH-Hilo Athletic Director Dexter Irvin announced the appointment Tuesday afternoon in a press release.
Miyataki, a former UH-Hilo associate head coach under Estrella, will take over the Division II baseball program on April 14, following the Vulcans’ season-ending Pacific West Conference home games against Academy of the Art University. The Vulcans host Academy of the Art in doubleheaders on April 12 and 13 at Wong Stadium as Estrella wraps up his 36-year career at UH-Hilo.
Estrella will retire from his UH-Hilo job on June 30.
“I am excited that we have a qualified coach on our staff that can step in and run our baseball program,” Irvin said. “Kal has an extensive background, experience and expertise to build upon a strong foundation and help us become more competitive in the PacWest Conference.
“The timing of this appointment will help us not miss a valuable recruiting season and enable young men to make a strong choice and commitment to attend school and play baseball at UH-Hilo.”
During the search for a permanent full-time head coach, Miyataki will maintain his title and duties in the athletic department as associate athletic director.
“I am humbled and honored,” Miyataki said.
Miyataki was a standout baseball player for Waialua High School on Oahu. He then played four years for the Vulcans, providing Estrella with a versatile player and on-field leader while UH-Hilo played at the NAIA level.
During those years in the NAIA, Estrella’s teams were very successful, making three World Series appearances.
Miyataki later spent 12 years assisting Estrella, ending with the 2006 season.
Miyataki continued his affiliation with the game as a coach and clinician throughout the state.
For the past six years, he has been involved in Major League Baseball’s RBI (Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities) program, which teams up with the Boys & Girls Club of the Big Island.
“This is a unique opportunity for Kal, our baseball program and the Hilo baseball community,” Irvin said. “Being a head coach at any level, especially in college, requires a personal commitment of time, support and resources.
“I look forward to seeing Kal build upon those available and committed resources to enhance baseball at UH-Hilo.”