2 New Sports to Add Nearly 50 More Athletes at CUH

[Chaminade Silversword] 2 New Sports to Add Nearly 50 More Athletes at CUH

Chad Konishi (left) and Kahala Kabalis Hoke will lead the two new sports on campus, the baseball and women’s beach volleyball teams, in 2023-24.

Chaminade University announced earlier this year the addition of beach volleyball and baseball to its sports lineup for the 2023-24 school year. While this announcement brought excitement to the Chaminade community, there are many questions about just how the school will be able to pull this off.  

After all, the university hasn’t added any new sports since the 2006-2007 school year.

First, there is the question of how can the school afford to add these new sports?

“We are working on a budget that delivers a net increase of revenue for the university,” said Tom Buning, Chaminade University’s Director of Athletics. “Adding 40 men (baseball) and six women (beach volleyball) represents significant new tuition revenue. The net revenue after paying the cost of scholarships provides enough to more than cover costs of education, team travel, equipment, and coaching and staff personnel.” 

Buning added that while the baseball team will likely have 40 members, the school plans only to award the equivalence of five scholarships. For beach volleyball, he projects six new student-athletes with the team offering two scholarships. 

Buning further explained that the school typically spreads the scholarship monies across the team’s players at the coach’s discretion.   

This model of splitting up the value of a scholarship is different from what happens at the FBS, or the highest level of NCAA football. At the FBS level, schools can offer up to 85 scholarships but they must be full scholarships. In other words, schools cannot split scholarships at the FBS level of NCAA football the way Chaminade University does for its sports. 

It will be the job of coaches Kahala Kabalis Hoke and Chad Konishi to disburse scholarship funds for the beach volleyball and baseball teams, respectively. 

Kabalis Hoke, who is currently the Chaminade women’s volleyball head coach, added the title of beach volleyball head coach to her duties on Aug. 1. She is currently in her 11th year as the coach of the Silverswords’ indoor team. She had an overall record of 158-114 coming into this season and won the PacWest Coach of the Year and AVCA West Region Coach of the Year honors last season. 

Many indoor volleyball players are expected to also compete for the beach volleyball team.

“I believe the players are excited about an opportunity to play officially on the beach,” Kabalis Hoke said Friday during an event to celebrate the two new sports on campus.

Konishi, who was named the baseball team’s head coach on Sept. 27, will already be familiar with the university’s campus since he’s been serving as an athletic director at Saint Louis School for the last three years. Konishi comes with a solid baseball resume including coaching stints at the University of San Francisco and the University of Hawaiʻi at Manoa. According to Buning, Konishi beat out a strong group of applicants for the job.

“We were inundated with people interested in the job,” Buning said. “We interviewed six folks, really grilled three or four of them, and he emerged as the top guy.” 

With these new student-athletes scheduled to arrive on campus in the Fall 2023 and competition to start in Spring 2024, the push to fill the rosters is underway.  

Buning added that the baseball program will look locally to fill its roster of 40, and Chaminade’s new team gives Hawaiʻi players another collegiate opportunity, joining UH Manoa, Hawaii Pacific University and UH-Hilo as school with a baseball team.

“Now, we have the opportunity to say (to local players), ‘Hey, you’re talented enough. Come play. Join the team and get a good education at the same time,’” Buning said.  

“The most important thing for me has been to market Chaminade baseball, Chaminade University, go out and find players,” said Konishi during an appearance on campus on Friday.

The addition of the baseball team should also help close the gender gap on the Chaminade campus.   

In Fall 2021, only 23% of the university’s undergraduate enrollment was male, according to the US News. 

“It’s nice to add 40 men to our student population,” Buning said.   

As the recruiting process moves forward, Buning and his staff have a lot of work to do before the first pitch for the baseball team and first serve for the beach volleyball team can happen. For example, with no sand volleyball courts or baseball fields on campus, where will the teams play?

Buning said that the beach volleyball team’s home court will be Queen’s Beach in Waikiki. The baseball team will play either on City & County fields or is hoping to maybe use UH Manoa’s Les Murakami Stadium when the Rainbow Warriors are on the road, Konishi said.    

Chaminade University has never had a beach volleyball team before. The school did have a baseball team in 1980 and 1981 before the program was dropped.