Lei Nakamura is the Lahaina News’ Sportsperson of the Year for 2017
She is a woman who has dedicated her life to family and the game that she loves – softball. For more than a decade, Lei Nakamura has guided the Lahainaluna High School softball program, as well as the Maui Girls Softball Association and the Maui Pearls travel team, all along with raising five keiki with husband Flint.
For her lifetime of dedication to malama the youth of our community, she is honored as our Sportsperson of the Year for 2017.
Perhaps Lahainaluna Athletic Director Scott Soldwisch touches all the bases in saying, “Coach Lei has become a tireless worker on behalf of the students of Lahainaluna High School and the sport of softball in general here on Maui.
“Year in and year out, she gives a hundred percent to her girls, not only to make them better softball players but better people. She is very deserving of this recognition as the Lahaina News’ Sportsperson of the Year.”
Indeed, the former Lahainaluna boarding student and all around student-athlete has returned to her alma mater to pay forward her experiences and the influences of former Lady Lunas coach Earle Kukahiko; and moreover, the understanding and knowledge of the game she gained working alongside the late, legendary Ryan Souza.
Today, Coach Lei passes this knowledge on to the Lahainaluna team and to the Maui Pearls summer travel team – this after years of service as the leader of the Maui Girls Softball Association for the youth of the Valley Isle.
Her dedication is manifested in the successes of daughters Brenna and Haley, who, after sterling MIL All-Star and honor student careers at Lahainaluna, earned scholarships to New Mexico State University.
There, both played for four years and earned degrees in Business and Biology, respectively. And Coach Lei wants this opportunity for every girl she coaches.
Coach Lei will be presented a commemorative plaque from Maui Marking Device as well as gift certificates from TS Restaurants, including Kimo’s, Leilani’s on the Beach, Hula Grill and Duke’s Beach House.
TS Restaurants Vice President Tammy Fukugawa commented, “We are once again thrilled to be a part of the Lahaina News Sportsperson of the Year award. It is an honor for us to recognize people like Lei Nakamura, who gives so much to our community.” (By Walter Chihara)