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Molokai Coach Aces for Hilo Team

Tino Reyes, a Ho`olehua native, carries on his passion for over 20 years , and is now the head coach of another Division II volleyball team.

After coaching the as interim head coach for one season, Reyes dropped the first part of his title when he was offered the head coaching position for the University of Hawaii-Hilo Vulcans (UH-Hilo) women’s volleyball last month.

“I’m enjoying it. We have a great athletic director and coaching staff,” Reyes said.

Experience has been vital for Reyes.’ He spent 17 seasons as an associate coach with the University of Hawaii at Manoa men’s volleyball team, a D-I school; one season as head coach at Chiminade University, a D-II school; and two seasons head coaching at Oregon State University, a D-II school.

Leading Again
His Molokai roots have taught him that coaching can be hard work. Knowledge, after all, is bred through experience – Reyes played volleyball for Molokai High School. “I was never the best athlete in my family, but I loved playing. So I kept persevering,” he said. Reyes also knew that practicing meant he could get out of farm responsibilities, he joked.

He returns to Molokai occassionally, without having to lend a hand on the farm since his parents moved to Kualapu`u.

“Some guys want to have a reunion in Las Vegas, but I actually like going to Molokai. Part of the charm is that I can see my friends and family at the same time,” Reyes said.

Reyes’ always gravitated toward the gym when he was growing up. There he would hone his basketball and volleyball skills every day after school.

 “Tino is like a little kid. I can just joke around with him all the time,” said one of his players, junior Hillary Hurley. She is also the Pacific West Conference Player of the Year 2010. “But we all have respect for him. We have gained a lot by having him.”

Ahead of the Game
Under Reyes, the team picked up an 18-5 record, along with the Pacific West Conference Crown in 2010. “He has rebuilt our team and brought us together,” said Kelia Parrilla, a defensive specialist on the team. “And we always laugh, no matter what. He always puts humor into practice.”

“You have all these challenges on a small island. You can figure out ways to minimize your weakness and maximize your strengths,” Reyes said. “Those are two things that happen on Molokai and that are what I try to do here at UH-Hilo.”
 
 “One of the greatest coaches ever at UCLA said ’What other profession can you have where you’ll meet the movers and shakers in the world?’ Where else can you meet these people? The kids I coach will be lawyers, doctors, and teachers,” Reyes said.

But before his players move onto the next step in their lives, Reyes’ job is to help them recognize and improve upon their natural talents.

Four of his front-row players will not return next season, so he is in the process of recruiting. Until then, he will be practicing with his team to get ready for the next season.

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