As a counselor at Lahaina Intermediate School for over two decades and the head wrestling coach at Lahainaluna High School for about the same amount of time, Todd Hayase has spent his entire adult life as a mentor to the youth of the West Side community.
For this dedication to the betterment of so many of our children, we are pleased to honor Hayase as the Lahaina News' Sportsman of the Year for 2013.
Coach Todd has gained recognition with the wrestling programs at the youth and high school levels, as those programs racked up title after title in AAU and HHSAA competitions.
With the Lunas, he has guided the boys to eight straight MIL championships and the girls' squad to four consecutive titles, with both teams finishing in the top five at the state tournaments in those years.
There have been numerous individual state champions, and the Wall of Honor in the Lahainaluna Wrestling Room is quickly filling up as the list of state placers grows with each passing season.
His work as a counselor at LIS receives less publicity, but in the far-reaching expanse of Hayase's positive influence on the youth of our community, it is vital to the educational and social development of thousands of young West Side teenagers at a vulnerable stage of their lives.
Along with the day-to-day guidance responsibility at the middle school, he initiated the Renaissance Partners in Living and Learning reward program at LIS, which recognizes students for their high grade point averages, citizenship and community service. The qualifying students receive discount cards to restaurants and stores, and are rewarded with a fun day - including lunch, treats and games - at the end of each quarter of the school year. This program has grown year after year to where some 200 to 250 LIS students are celebrated for their positive action in academics, social behavior and community service.
In this relentless dedication to the positive development of our youth, Hayase makes a profound contribution to the welfare of the Lahaina community and to society in general.
"People don't realize Todd's year-round commitment to the sport of wrestling and to the youth of our community," stated Kim Ball, a leading Maui businessman, father of three boys that attended LIS and became championship wrestlers at Lahainaluna, and a coach for the Lunas.
"He works with the kids year-round, taking them to Oahu and the Mainland for training trips, working at the school with counseling the students and promoting the Renaissance program to where it's one of the most successful in the state - he's just all in. He's never one to say no, and I can't say how fortunate we are to have him here and so involved with the kids here on the West Side."
Dickie Moon, vice president of TS Restaurants of California and Hawaii, who will recognize Coach Todd with gift certificates to Kimo's, Leilani's on the Beach, Hula Grill and Duke's Beach House, echoed that sentiment in saying, "We are happy to be able to honor Todd Hayase for his dedication to the youth of our community. It is this effort by people like him that make Maui the wonderful place that it is. Congratulations and thank you for all that you do."
Hayase will be presented a custom commemorative plaque courtesy of Maui Marking Device along with the TS Restaurants certificates at a ceremony in the Lahainaluna Wrestling Room.