LIHUE — Kauai High School has named Stephanie Shinno as head coach of the school’s girls golf team.
Shinno is also the director of programs and services for Kauai Jr. Golf Association. KJGA tournament director Jennifer Hreljac will serve as assistant coach.
“It was offered to me a long time ago. The timing was wrong,” Shinno said Friday. “When it came, I just put my trust in God. I wanted to give back. I wanted to be a pillar for the girls because, I guess, they’re always losing coaches. I wanted to do it out of my heart, and I’m glad that Jennifer can join me and help build this program.”
Shinno graduated from Kauai High School in 2000. The school placed fourth at the Hawaii High School Athletics Association girls golf state tournament in her junior year and then third her senior year.
After graduating from Kauai High, Shinno played collegiately at Division II school California State University, Monterey Bay.
“We want to build a foundation for the girls to technically just have a great program where they don’t have to worry about the daily stress,” Shinno said. “Instead of coaching at them, I want to coach with them. I’ve learned these past 35 years, we’re always still learning and growing.
“If you think so highly of yourself, you can close your blessings. But if you so low of yourself, you’ll probably never break your barriers,” she continued. “With this, it’s a full, well-rounded program. We’re going to look at them inside and out, and help them build courage and get them inspired. Get them to not only inspire themselves, but each other.”
Shinno was officially hired by the school Wednesday.
“The interview all agreed that she brings a good positive energy. We liked her philosophy of, ‘We learn and grow together,’” said Kauai High athletic director Keli’i Morgado. “She spoke a lot about golf being such a difficult sport, and the emotional state of the girls is really important. … It really is. The ups and downs of a round of golf are really hard. The fact that is one of her main focuses is something we really liked.”
Former Kauai girls golf coach Casey Watabu parted with the program after one season last year. Kauai High finished 10th in last year’s girls golf state tournament.
“He was really knowledgeable golfer that the girls really liked, and he was very good at it,” Morgado said. “Just the demands of his job, it became too hard to do both.”
Shinno said she’s already met with one of the golfers, and that meeting further solidified her wanting the position.
“I was interview by Taryn Taguma. She impressed me,” she said. “Already, I’ve learned practice starts on Monday. They’ve been practicing without me. … She actually text me wanting to coordinate the supporters shirts. That shows me (dedication). That’s the kind of team I want to coach with. They have that initiative that they’re serious about the game and want to help out.”
Shinno also wanted to thank her coaches for teaching and helping her along the way — namely Winston Ogata, Mary Bea Porter-King, Kelly Hines, Darrin Doi and her father Eugene Shinno.
“I was never a great golfer, but they encouraged me. I always played with better golfers until I got better,” she said. “My philosophy is the team is, ‘You’re only as great as your weakest link.’ We’re going to help each other out.”