Earlier this month, University of Hawaii’s baseball players, their coach Mike Trapasso, UH Athletic Director David Matlin, a group of young business leaders and other Hawaii executives came together to paint and make improvements to Les Murakami Stadium on two consecutive Saturdays.
The effort, spearheaded by the Hawaii Asia Pacific Association (HAPA) Young Leaders, involved participants from many of Hawaii’s top corporations, with the goal of giving the beloved stadium a much-needed makeover.
Before the renovations began, UH Stadium Manager Glenn Nakaya walked me through the inner sanctum of the stadium to places rarely seen by the public. Parts of the stadium hadn’t been repainted for 30 years and weren’t weathering the years well.
HAPA’s Young Leaders assumed the kuleana to help, and led by HAPA’s Jared Watamull, organized an epic work project to paint areas both inside and outside the stadium. Volunteers and donations extended to many of Hawaii’s top companies and groups, including Bank of Hawaii, Hawaiian Telcom, First Hawaiian Bank, DTRIC Insurance, Central Pacific Bank, First Insurance Company, Grove Farm, Accuity, Hawaiian Tel Federal Credit Union, HTH Corporation, HSCPA Young CPAs, Pomaikai Ballrooms.
“This was done out of love, to help the UH System and keep the program going and strong,” Nakaya says.
The crew painted various areas of the stadium, including the entry area on the ground floor, locker rooms, hallways, break rooms, two dugouts, three hospitality boxes on the concourse level, concession stands, Grand Slam Club Room and the huge wooden fence surrounding the field.
The result: A fantastic, refreshed look for the stadium.
“It’s humbling to see so many people use their Saturday mornings to help UH baseball, Trapasso said. “Our players, particularly the first-year guys, get to see firsthand how important UH is to our community, … and the passion our supporters have for this program.”
Trapasso had special thanks to Grove Farm CEO Warren Haruki and HAPA for organizing the event. “It’s one thing to be supportive, but another thing entirely to roll up your sleeves and spend a couple Saturday mornings sweating right beside the players.”
Said Kyle Mitchell, pitcher on the UH baseball team: “I’m from California, and no one really gets this kind of support like the way we do here in Hawaii. It really is different. As a player, we get to experience the aloha spirit all the time from our fans in the community.”
Here are some photos taken before the improvements (click arrows to scroll through gallery, or slide on a mobile device):