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Chancellor’s Message: Remembering Coach Jimmy Yagi

This message was shared with the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo ‘ohana on June 15, 2023.

Aloha UH Hilo ʻOhana,

Photo of Jimmy Yagi, 1935-2023As many of you already know, we lost another community icon, retiree, and friend to UH Hilo on Wednesday. Coach Jimmy Yagi, who put Vulcan Athletics on the map when he took our basketball team to multiple championships, was a kind and generous soul. The influence he has had on our community and campus lasts to this day.

Soon after I arrived in Hilo, I was lucky enough to get to know Coach Jimmy and his wife Jeanne, and even though he had been retired from UH Hilo for decades, he still came regularly to games, and supported our university. He was such a fan as well as a coach! When we hosted the “Seeds of Opportunity” Summit to discuss our emerging strategic plan with the community, we heard over and over again that the way many keiki and families first connected to our university was through basketball camps, now named for Coach Yagi, a testament to his legacy in our community.

My heart goes out to Coach Yagiʻs family and friends at this difficult time, but I hope they can take comfort in the collective warmth of the Hilo community and feel the aloha of the UH Hilo ʻohana.

For more information on Coach Yagiʻs life and legacy, please see the announcement on the Vulcan Athletics website.

Memorial services will be announced at a later time.

Bonnie D. Irwin

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