APRIL 14, 2003: Joel Kawachi steps down as Moanalua coach

Joel Kawachi, right, with Karen Dang Kawachi, is one of the OIA's longest-tenured athletic directors. Photo by Midweek / 2013

On this day in 2003, a pioneer of girls wrestling quit as coach to become an athletic director.

Joel Kawachi, who led Moanalua to the first three state wrestling titles, is still the AD at the school. As he pointed out in the below article, Kawachi never won the OIA boys title as a coach. Lucas Misaki gave that to him in 2019.

Kawachi’s retirement allowed Kahuku’s Reggie Torres to run off a string of seven of the next nine OIA titles. Since Kawachi took over as AD, Na Menehune have won state titles in esports, air riflery, judo, cheerleading and golf.

Kawachi was a standout wrestler and football player for Waialua in the late 1980s.


  1. Reggie April 14, 2020 11:15 pm

    Joel was an outstanding wrestling coach and an even better Athletic Director. His innovative ideas have upgraded not just his athletic programs but their facilities as well. One can only walk into his gymnasium and see the how much it’s improved. We can only hope to emulate what he has done for Moanalua Athletics.

  2. Hmmm? April 15, 2020 9:10 am

    What happened to their Boy’s Basketball program this past year?

  3. coconut wireless April 15, 2020 10:39 pm

    Why a news piece on an AD? Surely there are other more interesting human stories on athletes / Coaches.

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