Shoji to take leave from Rainbow Wahine, diagnosed with prostate cancer

Hawaii head coach Dave Shoji / AP

In a shocking announcement Monday afternoon, longtime University of Hawaii women’s volleyball head coach Dave Shoji revealed that he is battling prostate cancer and will take some time away from the program as he undergoes treatment.

At 70 years of age, Shoji, a 14-time conference coach of the year who has led the Rainbow Wahine program to 4 national championships, made the announcement via press release at 4 p.m.

“I was diagnosed with prostate cancer a few weeks ago but I did not want to announce it and become a distraction to the team,” he said. “I will be undergoing treatment that will take me away from my everyday coaching duties for the next several weeks. With the help of my team of doctors, my wife Mary, and the support of our family, I am trusting in God to get through this and see what my future holds.”

Associate head coach Jeff Hall will oversee the program in his absence. Early Monday evening, Hall told us that Coach Shoji is well-aware of the support behind him.

“I think he definitely understands that this whole place is behind him, and prayers and thoughts go out to him,” he said. “You know, he’s really strong in his faith and I think that’ll help. He’s got support from Mary, his wife, and obviously the sporting community and his family, so there’s never been a better group around him to help him through this.

“It’s a moment where I want him to worry about himself and getting healthy. That’s my concern and whatever I can do to make that transition easier, I will, and for me, it’s important for the student-athletes and Dave as well. That’s what his major concern was for him, their experience and what’s this going to be about for them.

“The guy’s really resilient and amazing. I see nothing but positive results down the road for him,” Hall said.

Hall will also continue to serve as beach volleyball head coach this season.

This year, Shoji reached the mark of 1,202 victories, leading UH to its 41st national championship tournament in his 42 years as head coach.

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