LAHAINA - The West Maui Youth Basketball League will tip-off its 30th season on Jan. 4 with a full slate of games at the sparkling Lahaina Civic Center.
For years established as one of the top youth athletic programs in Maui County, the WMYBL moves into the 2014 season with over 420 children taking part in five different divisions playing games over the next three months.
A new category, the Termites, has been set up for kindergarten-age children to join the Tiny Mites (ages 5-7), Peewees (8-11), Midgets (12-14) and Menehune (traveling intermediate school age) that make up the competition brackets of the program.
Longtime organizer and founder of the WMYBL, Don "Show Me the Money" Rosenthal has retired and was replaced by West Maui Parks and Recreation Technician Sean Gordon last month.
Gordon has been on the staff of the league for some 20 years and is no stranger to the program. Rosenthal also will remain on board as an advisor to Gordon, who has stated that he will continue the program in the same way as his predecessor.
"I'm not going to change anything, and I want to work with all the same people that Don worked with," he explained from his office at the recently renovated LCC basketball floor.
"As everyone knows, Don had this thing down pat, and I will just carry on what he did."
Gordon will get plenty of help from the West Maui Parks and Recreation staff, including Director Jeff Anderson, Recreation Leader Alvin Kametani and Recreation Aides Yolanda Dukes and Ray Lasco. Also still on board after decades of service are Judy and Jim Peterson, Al Dasugo and Casey Smythe.
"Don has me all set-up with checklists and contact information, and we have 25 coaches signed up - some of them around for more than 25 years - and also some guys that played in the league as kids and now have children of their own playing hoops," he said. (Gordon played in the league and now has kids of his own, and his wife, Anela, taking part in the program.)
Other veteran coaches include Krim Kenolio, Andy Alavazo, Arthur Jacinto, Mike Bates, Mario Balagso, Ron Miranda, Karyn Murphy, Chris Salem, Greg Vanderlaan, Wenzel Arcangel, Ray Lasco and many more.
"We receive great community support, and we're very appreciative of that," said Gordon. "Maui County, all the staff and all the coaches - we are so thankful to them all. And thanks also goes out to all of our sponsors, especially Leilani's on the Beach and Jason Donez as our major sponsor. Many of these businesses have been sponsors for many years as well, and we thank them for that."