Les Murakami gave Hawaii more than 30 years of baseball memories. Wednesday night, Hawaii gave its heartfelt thanks. In Manoa, Rainbow Stadium officially became "Les Murakami Stadium."
Surrounded by his family coach Les entered the stadium to a standing ovation. Although still physically limited by a massive stroke he suffered 15 months ago the coach energized a stadium where he presided over more than 30 years of Rainbow baseball.
"Tonight we celebrate one of the great sportsmen in Hawaii's history. A man who for over three decades brought honor and prestige to this university and to this state," said university president, Evan Dobelle.
His numbers speak for themselves. 1,079 wins, and 11 conference championships. Numbers that define Les Murakami "the coach." But so much more defines Les Murakami "the man".
"Your reputation goes far beyond your baseball skills and the one reason you are admired throughout this state is the fact that you are a decent man who understands the meaning of sportsmanship and fair play," said Governor Cayetano.
News 8's Howard Dashefsky asks Murakami, "Coach I know for you it was never a priority to get this stadium named after you. Tonight has to be a very special night for you."
"No question, it's a great honor," said Coach Murakami. "There are so many people who had a hand in the building and construction of this wonderful facility."
But more important than a stadium in his name. was Coach Les's desire to deliver success. Not on the diamond, but in the game of life.
"My priority, as you know from when you were coming to school is: #1 be a very good citizen, # 2 always give 100 percent and #3 graduate. I think we've fulfilled most of all these things," said Murakami.
And after spending more than 3 decades on the diamond, Coach Les says he is ready to see the changing of the guard and the beginning of the Mike Trappasso era.
Coach Les said, "No question. I just hope he has a great career here and I hope the fans give him the support they gave me and if they do that I don't think he can go wrong."