Chaminade Baseball to Put on “First Pitch” Fundraiser as Silverswords Prepare Return to Diamond After 43 Years
BY PAUL BRECHT | HONOLULU
PUBLISHED MAY 19, 2020
HONOLULU — Following a drought of over 40 years (and for the first time in the 21st century), Chaminade University will compete in collegiate baseball when spring of 2024 comes around.
Chad Konishi was named as the second head skipper in the history of Chaminade baseball back on September 30, 2022, tasked with building a Division II college baseball program from the ground up.
The first head coach of a Chaminade baseball team was Leroy Goo, heading the Swords for two seasons in 1980 and 1981 before the program was scrapped. After four long decades of baseball-less action for Chaminade, the program returns next spring under the leadership of a long-standing fixture in Hawai’i baseball.
Konishi, a member of the ’89 Punahou School graduating class and former D1 baseball player at Cal, takes over the head coaching role full-time for the Swords after three stops and 18 years as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator for City College of San Francisco, University of San Francisco, and the University of Hawai’i-Mānoa.
The longtime baseball mind feels those experiences will go far in helping him create a strong program at Chaminade going forward.
“Contacts have remained the same, areas that I have been able to recruit from, it’s been great to reunite, reconnect with programs that have been so good to me,” Konishi said. “College baseball is a passion of mine; it has never left.”
The new-head skipper for the Silverswords began his coaching career in 1995 at City College of San Francisco as a pitching coach, helping lead CCSF to the program’s first Coast conference championship in 35 years.
Konishi jumped to Division I at the University of San Francisco the following season, staying with the Dons for the next six seasons (’96-01) as the pitching coach and recruiting coordinator as he continued to accumulate experience in various roles for baseball programs.
He returned home to O’ahu before the ’02 season, joining the Hawai’i Rainbow Warriors baseball program as the associate head coach while maintaining pitching coach and recruiting coordinator responsibilities as he moved programs.
Though he wasn’t the head coach, Konishi still got some skipper experience in his time with UH.
“Only in two games,” Konishi explained with a chuckle. “When Coach [Mike Trapasso] got kicked out of a game, it was at USC and University of Nevada, Reno. I won’t brag, but I am proud to say I am actually 2-0 as a head coach.”
It would be over a decade before Konishi would toss on the coaching cap again after leaving UH following the ’13 season, as the Punahou grad moved his way to administration as the athletic director at Saint Francis School in 2014, staying for six years before the school closed the doors.
After the closing of Saint Francis, the coach-turned-athletic-director found a new home at Saint Louis School as the AD for the Crusaders in 2020. Konishi stayed for three and a half years before Chaminade, who shares a campus with Saint Louis, approached him about their DII growth and he inquired about the return of Silverswords baseball.
“I shared with them as a baseball purist and how passionate I am about it, I thought that baseball would be a great sport to have,” Konishi said of his conversation with Chaminade administrators regarding new sports for Chaminade. “Hawai’i is a baseball state, you know the success of our little league team and our youth teams… Not having community college baseball, with University of Hawai’i-Mānoa being the only D1 program, having another D2 program along with Hilo and Hawaii Pacific just made sense.”
In preparation for the 2024 season, in which Chaminade will join fellow Hawai’i programs HPU and UH-Hilo in the PacWest Conference, Konishi observed multiple home games for the Sharks as HPU hosted California-based programs and made sure to attend island rivalry games between Hilo and Hawaii Pacific.
“Let me tell you, I spent many long hours, doubleheaders, watching the common opponent of HPU as they played the Southern California schools that came to Hawai’i, as well as [University of Hawai’i-Hilo],” the head baseball coach shared. “We have our work cut out for us here at Chaminade. There were very good programs… I’ve got to develop and try and bring in the right kids.”
Konishi continued to gush about the talent in the PacWest, specifically mentioning the pitching in the league that caught his eye. The longtime baseball mind also shared admiration for HPU’s Dane Fujinaka and Hilo’s Kallin Miyataki for the success they have had with their programs.
In a tough league, Konishi looks to put together a well-rounded team of players to compete with and build the program up with. According to the head man in charge, both local prospects and mainland prospects are invited to come out for the team as they start from scratch.
“Doing what I really enjoyed, besides being a pitching coach, was going about and finding players that nobody else wanted to give a chance or nobody else saw,” Konishi recalled of his recruiting coordinator days while outlining his plan. “Get the guys that are going to be right for your program.”
Konishi won’t lead the Silverswords by himself in the program’s return, as the former college pitcher shared that he would have a small staff of 3-4 additional coaches to help him teach and lead. While most of the staff is in place, the names will not be shared until all details are finalized.
“First Pitch” Fundraiser
Konishi and the Chaminade baseball program will look for a boost ahead of next season, as the Silverswords are running their inaugural “First Pitch” baseball fundraiser this upcoming weekend.
Starting at 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, May 20, Konishi will be at Murphy’s Bar & Grill to meet fans and supporters as a silent auction goes on around food and entertainment. The event runs until 8:00 p.m., as attendees will get a pupu buffet, two drinks and a brand-new Chaminade hat.
The event will be capped at 150 attendees, with tickets priced at $150 each to help cover the costs of the event. Proceeds/profits of the evening will go to the Chaminade baseball program and fans can still support the program without attending and/or after the cap is filled.
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