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UH track and field coach James resigns, will head back home

Updated: 
June 17, 2017 - 12:05am

Carmyn James, who resuscitated the women’s track and field program at the University of Hawaii in 2001, has resigned as its head coach.

The resignation reportedly came despite the offer of a one-year contract extension and no raise.

James, said, “I decided, you know what, ‘Thanks for the offer but no thanks. Canada is calling and I need to go home.’”

She is scheduled to return to her native Alberta at the end of the month.

James said the decision was “emotional, and we shared a lot of tears with the athletes. I loved coaching, I loved the athletes on our team, I love Hawaii. There are those positive things, but there is (also) a laundry list of other stuff that weighs on me.”

James was among those frustrated by the slow pace of plans for the replacement of the track at the T.C. Ching Complex, where an internal report that cited “cracks, holes and worn areas” as impacting “performance, recruiting and safety.”

The facility was last resurfaced more than 15 years ago, according to a report.

James, 55, said, “Yes, I was disappointed with the new contract that I was offered and yes, I am very discouraged by the lack of progress in getting our track resurfaced, but I don’t want to leave here as a disgruntled employee. I greatly appreciate the amazing opportunity that I was given to be the head coach of the Rainbow Wahine track and field program for the past 17 years.”

UH had been without a track program for 16 years when James took over in 2001. She also began UH’s first indoor track program and oversaw cross country.

In James’ tenure, Amber Kaufman, who won the high jump title in 2010, became the school’s first track and field national champion in 26 years. Seven of her athletes combined for nearly 20 NCAA Indoor and Outdoor Championship appearances.

James’ teams were annually among the athletic department’s leaders in Academic Progress Rate, a key NCAA metric of academic progress and retention.

James cited a couple of other reasons for moving back to Canada.

“Bottom line, my mom’s 80th birthday is next month and I want to live closer to her. I also want to attend all of the Hamilton TigerCats football games. I want to experience cheering on the team in person from the stands rather than via my iPad while seated on my couch in St. Louis Heights — even though that means for the majority of the games I will have to wear my winter boots, a touque and mittens.

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