‘Iolani’s 3-time state-championship coach Dean Shimamoto retires

Iolani coach Dean Shimamoto has the Raiders No. 1 in the boys basketball Top 10. Cindy Ellen Russell / Star-Advertiser
Dean Shimamoto is leaving his post as 'Iolani basketball coach. Cindy Ellen Russell / Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

After a decade as the head coach of ‘Iolani, one of the most successful boys basketball programs in the state, Dean Shimamoto announced his retirement today,

He shared the news this afternoon, not long after speaking with his team, the same one that finished third in the state.

Over the years, the Raiders, by and large, often overachieved, beating taller and bigger teams with more athleticism. They did it the old-fashioned way, putting in reps on the hardwood and in the weight room year-round. This year’s team went 23-12 overall, posting memorable wins over Servite (Calif.), Diamond Bar (Calif.) and OIA champion Moanalua — in the state-tourney quarterfinals. The Raiders eked into the state tourney because the Interscholastic League had three state berths instead of the usual two this season — and after beating Moanalua, nearly knocked out Punahou in the semifinal round.

Letting go was a process for Shimamoto, 42, who has coached at every level at ‘Iolani since his sophomore year of college.

“I talked to the boys today. I let my coaches know last night, my head coaches and staff,” Shimamoto said.

He had some discussions with athletic director Eddie Maruyama earlier in the season.

“I wanted to give him a head’s up. He kind of wanted to let the season finish up and me not worry about it until the season was over. Just do the best you can with the guys we’ve got at becoming successful,” Shimamoto said.

If he had an increasing amount of difficulty being away from his young family, Shimamoto didn’t show it much, if at all.

“I would say I’ve had a few thoughts over the last few years about when my time would come or when it would feel right. About midway through the season, I thought about it more. My kids have more things going on. I started missing out on more things,” he said. “Over the last 10 years, there’s been a lot of great moments and incredible experiences, but with my boys getting older I don’t want to miss out on those same type of experiences with them. I don’t get these years back.”

His wife, Teresa, and sons, ages 7 and 5, have known him and basketball as one identity for all this time.

“For her, she was the one to make sure I was sure. Because really, basketball was around before she was at least in my life. I was already a pretty committed coach even though I was an assistant at the time. She knows it’s a big part of my life,” he said. “Coaches wives, you can’t be a successful coach unless you have an understanding wife and mother. Look at (Maryknoll’s) Kelly Grant, (Punahou’s) Darren Matsuda, (Mid-Pacific’s) Ryan Hirata.”

During his 10 years, Shimamoto’s teams won three state championships. The first came in 2010, a 46-43 nail-biter over Kamehameha.

Then came the ’14 crown, another close battle. The Raiders edged a talented Farrington squad 43-40 that season in the final. That year, ‘Iolani switched gears in one of the most impressive chameleon-DNA performances. The Raiders began the season as a high-pace, run-and-gun outfit, but after struggling against the talented Maryknoll Spartans, Shimamoto had his team modify its approach. While most of the ILH kept speeding up, his team was contrarian and bought into a controlled tempo and stellar defense.

In ’16, led by 6-foot-9 Hugh Hogland, the Raiders outlasted Punahou 45-40 in the title game. ‘Iolani reached the semifinals in ’17 and again this season.

Shimamoto has already been busy coaching his sons in youth leagues. He might even be an assistant coach in the near future if asked.

“I’m not naive enough to think I’ll be able to just put it behind me. I’ve been coaching for 23 years and playing for 10 before that, so basketball’s been around me longer than anything I can remember besides my parents and my family,” he said. “It’s not totally going away. I could very well be on the sideline next year as an assistant depending on who gets the job and if they want me to be there. I think I’ll still be involved in coaching, but the burdens of being a head (varsity) coach won’t be there.”

Shimamoto leaves as a content coach, ready to give his family every one of his days and nights now. The task of being ‘Iolani’s boys basketball head coach is a whirlwind.

“We plan the summer league, run it, have practices. Offseason workouts three times a week. A big clinic. Travel and fundraising, all these little pieces are always on your mind. Even if I’m standing there with my kid or my family eating dinner, my mind’s not there. Those types of things make head coaching difficult,” he said.

For Shimamoto, there is no other place to coach besides his alma mater. Not in the past, not in the future. He is, like a good number of coaches at the prep level, uniquely qualified and even overqualified with a resume and vast experience.

“I love high school basketball. It’s a totally different animal from college, not like bringing guys in for your system. It’s easier said than done, but you’ve got to work with what you’ve got,” he said. “Every coach is going to say they’ve got great kids, but at ‘Iolani, we really have great kids and great parents. This is the top of the mountain for me as far as a coaching job.”

Shimamoto’s father, Sonny, once owned Mike’s Engraving and Trophies. He was also a baseball coach, but eventually coached basketball. Sonny Shimamoto went on to coach at Moanalua when Na Menehune won state championships in ’96 and ’97. The head coach there? Eddie Maruyama.


  1. M.T. March 1, 2019 7:49 pm

    Coach Dean has done a fine job. 3 state titles! You have deserved a vacation coach! Who are the candidates?

    Ryan Hirata
    Alika Smith
    Sol Batoon
    Brandon Kawazoe
    Greg Tacon
    Keith Spencer

    Any others?

  2. Roll Out March 1, 2019 8:23 pm

    Maybe Akana from Kahuku? Iolani got those new dorms now. He can house those overseas recruits there

  3. Butch March 2, 2019 9:43 am

    Grant Kauhi from Waiakea would be an excellent candidate. He needs a great AD like Eddie Maruyama.

  4. Mahatma Gandhi March 2, 2019 12:55 pm

    What BS. Iolani has had overwhelming talent and size. They Red Raiders have decided to make an all-out push to win the state basketball championship every year and have recruited tall and top players from all over the state. They have conceded football to the win-at-all-costs St Louis Crusaders. Hugh Hogland was 6′-7″. Gabriel Vega was tall. Derek Low- recruit. It all began with Mufi Hannemann recruited players in the early 1980s. Iolani’s first state baskeball championship in 1983 was almost all recruited. But Glenn Young was the coach. I saw Mufi at a function and he told he was was furious at Iolani because he recruited the players but Glenn Young go to coach them to the championship.

  5. Ldub20 Owl316 March 2, 2019 1:13 pm

    Doc might be a candidate to come back. If Cal Lee can return, why couldn’t he?

  6. Loca1boiAnonymous March 2, 2019 5:10 pm

    If Akana took the helm of any ILH team, it would be a wrap for the rest of the state. Game over. Realistically, Hirata would be the main guy although I like what he is doing at MidPac and wish he would stay. Tacon? Not after that Kamehameha stint.

  7. ??? March 2, 2019 7:54 pm

    AKANA would take Iolani back to the Top in two years or less!!!

  8. M.T. March 2, 2019 10:29 pm

    Ghandi, you are a bitter and sad human being.

  9. M.T. March 2, 2019 10:31 pm

    @ Butch, are you talking about Brandon Kauhi? I heard there were so many parent complaints every year.

  10. ??? March 3, 2019 7:43 am

    What’s new? Parents will Always complain!
    Parents still complain about Cal Lee and he has a thousand championships.
    Worrying about parents and coaching does not go together.

  11. Whatsamattau March 3, 2019 12:05 pm

    Hirata should go Iolani and take his Raider Coaches with him. MP should go D2, build momentum and then go up D1, Damien can go D1, so MP can go down.

  12. JetWavy March 3, 2019 1:47 pm

    @ Whatsamattau

    I believe if Mid-Pac goes down to D2, the ILH will revert back to only having 2 state tournament berths now that the ILH is losing Saint Francis after one year. I feel like Mid-Pac boy’s program is the only “small” school game enough to compete at D1 regardless of whether or not they feel they have the size and/or talent year in and year out. Unlike SF and Damien who have had more media hype because of their decision to play below their level at D2 and earn D2 state championships, MidPac should have gotten a lot more respect for remaining at D1. If they do decide to go down, I understand, but I respect the heck out of them for playing up at D1.

  13. JetWavy March 3, 2019 1:52 pm

    @ Roll Out

    Akana hasn’t been the only one with recruits over the past few seasons but he seems to get the majority of jokes directed at him for it. Grant had a 6’9″ German like 6-7 seasons ago, never win states. Pardini at Kalaheo had Jankovic’s younger brother, never win the title. And at the very least, all of these coaches who bring in talent at least compete at D1, not D2.

  14. ??? March 3, 2019 2:02 pm

    @JetWavy February 26, 2019 6:51 pm
    Recruiting wins championships… but at least if you going recruit, play at the highest level.

    Make up your mind? All ILH schools can recruit so why have a DII?

  15. ALLILH March 4, 2019 1:07 pm

    Hey ???, Notes, aannyywwaayyss! We all know you are the same person. Again you talk so much, how about you coach and instill community pride in these public schools. Then maybe these kids will stay at public schools instead of going to the ILH. Oh I forgot you can’t because your an IDIOT!!!


  16. JetWavy March 4, 2019 4:42 pm


    Not sure what you’re asking me to make up my mind. What of my arguments confuses you?

  17. ??? March 4, 2019 5:37 pm

    You don’t understand what you, yourself wrote?
    You said, if you going recruit at least play at the highest level.
    You basically saying ILH should only have DI cause all ILH schools recruit. “DUH”

  18. ??? March 4, 2019 5:42 pm

    ALLILH March 4, 2019 1:07 pm

    Everybody knows you didn’t graduate from an ILH school just by your uneducated Grammar.

    Change your screen name to Dropout!!

  19. ??? March 4, 2019 5:51 pm

    Cat got your tongue?

  20. ??? March 5, 2019 7:25 pm

    That’s what I thought!!

  21. JetWavy March 6, 2019 2:28 pm


    I don’t see how you connect both statements to mean the same thing. You’re a little slow but we will work together to help you understand what was said. I did say that if you recruit and bring in transfers locally or out of state, you should absolutely be competing at Division 1. That is not to say that all ILH teams recruit. That’s two different statements that you seem to feel overlap each other. I don’t expect teams like Hawai’i Mission Academy, HBA, Le Jardin, UH Lab, Hanalani, to recruit studs and D2 should really be meant for teams like that. Damien and St. Francis before them have shown they have the ability and resources to bring in talent and run through those teams.. They should have not been in the same league as them. Mid-Pac could make the same argument as them but they continue to play D1 regardless of the talent/height they have.

  22. ??? March 6, 2019 6:10 pm

    Hahahahahaha, your own statement proves you’re SLOW!
    So now you’re saying just because Damien has the talent they should be in DI😂you obviously hating on Damien!
    You know for a fact every ILH school can recruit but since Hawaii Baptist doesn’t recruit as hard as Punahou they should stay at DII. You’re a joke!

  23. ??? March 6, 2019 6:19 pm

    STF is closing, so much for your comment on ability and resources?
    If Mid-Pac can play D1 regardless of their talent/height, than so can everyone else!
    But you choose to single out Damien because of their one good year of recruits & talent?
    Stop Hating!!!

  24. JetWavy March 7, 2019 12:36 pm

    Maybe that explains why your username is “???”. You’re confused and need further explanation it’s all good. Let’s take another crack at it. I have never heard of kids going to HBA, Le Jardin, Hanalani, Hawai’i Mission, etc. etc. for basketball. Ever. Punahou, ‘Iolani, and Maryknoll will always and continue to be the places players go for basketball in the ILH. Damien used to compete solely at D1 for basketball. It seemed like when the state opened a D2 state championship, then Damien reclassified to D2. My point continues to be if Mid-Pac can compete with the players they have year in and year out, Damien could have very well done the same. Heck, maybe they might have been raising a D1 trophy this year instead of D2. We’ll never know. I’m not for the “we’re good this year so we’ll play up but when we suck we’ll declare D2”. Continue to play at D1 and compete… good year or bad. And to me, the only team that has shown they’re willing to do that is Mid-Pac. You say I’m hating on Damien cuz they had one good year… well, Mid-Pac has had NO good year and still hoop it up with the big boys. Calm that “stop hating” noise down. You do just as much running your mouth in these comments as I do.

  25. Pun Parent March 9, 2019 8:02 pm

    Sounds shady and inappropriate if you ask me. My daughter played for Mr. Pape’s wife several years ago. I feel so sorry for her and what she has gone through. Coach Agena told us the entire story of all the things he did.

  26. M.T. March 10, 2019 3:28 pm

    Their coaching is elementary at best. They live off Derek’s name. They use all of Coach Agena’s stuff, they just don’t teach it as well. If coaching involved standing and watching and not making any adjustments, then they are the best. Men only wanting to coaching young girls is veery strange.

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