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Pascual is our Sportsperson of the Year

By Staff | Feb 6, 2020

Macario “Coach Mac” Pascual reacts to getting an ice water bath from his tennis players. The veteran Lahaina Tennis Club and Lahainaluna High School tennis coach has been named the Lahaina News’ 2019 Sportsperson of the Year for his aloha for the youth of Lahaina and perpetuating the leadership and standards of the late Shigeto Wakida. PHOTO BY GLEN PASCUAL.

It is a story line that defines the rich immigrant history of the United States and, particularly, here in Hawaii. Throughout the early ascension of America as the prosperous land of the free, the tales of the patriarchs of families of underdeveloped countries emigrating to the U.S. in search of better opportunities are countless.

In 1950, Luis Pascual Sr. came to Maui with the wave of immigrants from the Philippines, Japan, China, Portugal and Puerto Rico – determined to provide a better life for their families – to labor in the burgeoning agriculture industry in the Islands. Pascual signed on with Pioneer Mill, established a homestead in Lahaina and then sent for his wife, Natividad, and their five-year-old first born son, Macario.

With the courage, determination and work ethic of Luis and Natividad paving the pathway, the Pascual family thrived to live the American (Maui) dream of success. Eldest son Macario became the sterling example for all of the Pascual offspring as a leader of character who represented his family and the West Side community.

Macario attended King Kamehameha III School and Lahainaluna High School and graduated in 1974 with academic and athletic honors. He received a full scholarship to compete on the University of Hawaii at Manoa tennis team and pursue his interest in art. He graduated in 1979 with a degree in Fine Arts and was a four-year letter winner with the Rainbows tennis team.

Macario grew up as a protege with the legendary Shigeto “Shigesh” Wakida at the Front Street courts that are now named in honor of the life-long tennis mentor and Lahaina Tennis Club and Lahainaluna coach. The young Pascual became a stalwart competitor in the Lahaina Junior Tennis program and later at Lahainaluna, carrying on the spirit of Wakida with the attention always to the youth of the community.

After graduating from college, Macario began his professional career as an artist but continued his love for the game of tennis and his affection for the children of Lahaina. For more than a decade, he has carried on the example of leadership of Coach Wakida as the leader and coach of the Lunas and Lahaina Junior Tennis Club.

He married Karen Pascual, a fifth grade teacher at King Kamehameha III Elementary School, and they have two grown sons: Nicholas, LHS Class of 2007, now a civil engineer; and Evan, LHS Class of 2007, who works in marketing and public relations at Maui Ocean Center.

“What I love about Coach Mac’s program is the openness, as students of all abilities are welcome. He coaches them all equally. He has had players from the top junior tennis players in the state to beginners and to students with disabilities. They all have a home in the Luna tennis program. He is always conscientious and on top of things for me, and I really appreciate that,” said Lahainaluna Athletic Director Scott Soldwisch.

For all of his aloha for the youth of Lahaina in paying forward the coaching leadership and standards of Shigeto Wakida, the Lahaina News is honored to recognize Macario “Coach Mac” Pascual as the 2019 Sportsperson of the Year.

It thus becomes an “all in the ‘ohana” delegation of the award, as younger brother Glen was honored as the previous year’s recipient.

Coach Mac will receive a custom plaque from Maui Marking Device and dining gift certificates to all four TS Restaurants of the West Side: Kimo’s, Duke’s, Leilani’s on the Beach and Hula Grill.

Congratulations to Coach Mac and his entire family! And a sincere thank you for nurturing the positive aspects of the West Side. (By Walter Chihara and Hunter Higgins)