Who would have thought the excess space under the Marianist parking structure could have been used for anything but bramble, dust and scurrying mongooses? But Bro. Bernard Ploeger, SM, Chaminade’s president, had an idea. Why not repurpose the empty cavern into something that Athletics could use? It was close to McCabe Gym and adjacent to the Saint Louis field. Why not? Bro. Robert Hoppe, the vice president of Marianist Center of Hawaii, agreed. It was a solvable math problem. The idea ignited into a vision that became a celebrated reality on February 6 when the University dedicated its new Athletics Coaches’ Office Complex.
“These much-needed facilities and coaches’ offices were long overdue,” said Bro. Ploeger. “Not only will they benefit our student-athletes and coaches, but they will also help build a richer campus life for all of our students, faculty, and staff who will use these facilities and offices for years to come.”
William Villa, the university’s Athletics director, nodded. “These new offices and facilities will serve as a ‘home away from home’ for our student-athletes, coaches and the greater campus community as we grow our Silversword athletics tradition.”
Many of those attending the event could remember when the coaches’ offices were stuffed into the Athletics Shack in the back of Eiben and later sharing space in Henry Hall with the Office of the Dean of Students. It took architects, builders, and donors to believe and stay the course in the creation of this new structure. Granted, there were challenges along the way, but that made the completion all the sweeter.
Before the blessing, Fr. George Cerniglia, SM, Chaminade’s chaplain, shared a few words about salt and light. He encouraged those in Athletics to be salt and light for the student-athletes as a way of helping the students with values formation and becoming socially responsible citizens. He spoke about the high calling of educating young people in a Catholic Marianist University. Bro. Ploeger had read earlier from the Beatitudes, Matthew 5:13-14, which reiterated Fr. Cerniglia’s message of being the light on the hill, the hilltop of Kalaepohaku.
The dream that was a reality was blessed, and donors were later recognized. Individual donors included Dr. Edison H. Miyawaki, Vaughn G. A. Vasconcellos, Carolyn Berry Wilson, Sara Platte, Melvin Schantz, Jr., Eric Schantz, and Dan ‘81 and Judy Goo. Private foundations included Chaminade University Educational Foundation, Atherton Family Foundation, First Hawaiian Bank Foundation, Matson Foundation, Alexander & Baldwin, Inc., and Central Pacific Bank Foundation.