Current UHH Chancellor Donald Straney capped the short speeches by telling Estrella: “You’re the gold standard for commitment to the students and the community.”
Retiring University of Hawai‘i at Hilo baseball coach Joey Estrella was honored for his stellar career this past weekend at Wong Stadium in Hilo.
Estrella has the longest tenure of the UH Hilo coaching staff having been named the baseball coach in 1976. Saturday, on his last day of coaching, the Vulcans rewarded him with double header wins.
The Hawaii Tribune-Herald reports (April 14, 2013):
In all, Estrella would spend 37 years coaching baseball — and he closed that final chapter on Saturday at Wong Stadium.
The Vulcans swept Academy of Art University 7-3 and 8-5 in a season-ending PacWest doubleheader before about 300 appreciative fans.
On Saturday, several of Estrella’s ex-players from over the years — guys from Oahu, Maui, Kauai and the Big Island — showed up for their former coach’s aloha. That gesture touched Estrella’s heart and he spoke about it during a ceremony honoring him between the games.
“I’m truly, truly humbled by the opportunity to have coached at the university,” he said. “I’d like to thank the administration over the years, the faculty, my friends and the community for their support. I hope I’ve been a positive influence for the university.”
He then spoke directly to his former players in the crowd: “The ultimate tribute to me is in what you’ve done to make it easier for me to coach and what you’ve done after you left here.”
Earlier in the ceremony, Estrella was presented resolutions honoring his career from the Governor, Hawaii County Mayor and County Council, and the State House of Representatives and State Senate. Current UHH Chancellor Donald Straney capped the short speeches by telling Estrella: “You’re the gold standard for commitment to the students and the community.”