Molokai Athletics Welcomes New Assistant Director
With high goals set to bring more sports tournaments, more games and to build the athletics program on the island, the Molokai High School Athletics Department welcomes new Assistant Athletic Director, Joannie Espiritu-Tanabe, to the team.
“Having an assistant alleviates a lot of stress for me,” said Hoku Haliniak, MHS athletics director. “[Espiritu-Tanabe] is very organized and can step in whenever I need help.”
She said much of Espiritu-Tanabe’s job involves helping her at sporting events, taking care of traveling arrangements, scheduling, and making sure coaches have correct paperwork and students are eligible to play. That will leave Haliniak more time to bring more sporting events to the island, she said.
“For baseball, now we’ll have four teams coming [to the island],” said Haliniak. “We’re also working on a boys volleyball tournament and on a softball tournament, so we’ll do other things if I can work with her to do a lot of the [school-related] stuff.”
Molokai local and MHS graduate Espiritu-Tanabe said she grew up around athletics.
“My dad was a high school baseball coach [for MHS] for a long time…” she said. “I went to every game and was the team statistician from sixth grade…until I graduated high school.”
Espiritu-Tanabe became involved once again in MHS athletics as a parent, and accepted the assistant athletic director position in conjunction with her current job as a third grade teacher at Kilohana Elementary School.
“It feels good [being part of the athletics department] because the students are very enthusiastic about the sports that they play,” said Espiritu-Tanabe. “So its really good to see how involved they are.”
Although Espiritu-Tanabe expects a learning curve, taking some time to understand various Maui Interscholastic League and state athletic rules, she didn’t hesitate to say her motivation is “the students, definitely.”
“I want them to have as many opportunities as they can and athletics is a very healthy, productive avenue for them,” said Espiritu-Tanabe. “So really it’s all for them.”