Rainbow Wahine Are Second to None

Hawai'i's Rainbow Wahine volleyball team is one of the premiere programs in the WAC. Dave Shoji has guided the Wahine to four national titles and a record of 1,025-177-1. In BroncoCountry's continuing series honoring members of the WAC, we salute the fabulous Hawai'i Rainbow Wahine!

(Editor's Note:  This is part of a continuing series of tributes to WAC schools as Boise State completes its final season in the conference.  The series is meant to spread good will throughout the conference, highlight the rich heritage at member schools and to thank the WAC members for having Boise State in their conference for the last ten years.)

The story of the Hawai'i Rainbow Wahine women's volleyball team is one of tremendous success, greatness and high accolades.

Hawai'i has one four national championships:  one AIAQ title and three NCAA Division 1 championships.  The team won 10 straight conference championships until a shocking win by Utah State in this year's tournament.  They have made 28 appearances in the NCAA National Volleyball Tournament in the last 29years.  Two players have been honored as the AVCA National Player of the Year in the last 14 years. 

Led by Coach Dave Shoji, Hawai'i finished in the top three in the AIAW every year from 1974-1980, winning the championship in 1979.  Shoji led the Rainbow Wahine to a 37-2 record and a trip to the NCAA Regional Final in 1981 and the National Championship in 1982 with a sparkling record of 33-2.  UH downed USC to take the trophy.  Hawai'i was able to repeat in 1983 with a win over UCLA and a 34-2 mark and captured another title in 1987 when they defeated Stanford and finished 37-2.  Hawai'i reached the Final Four in 2000, 2002, 2003 and again last season.  They have reached the Regional Final in 9 of the last 16 seasons.

Hawai'i 's record under Coach Shoji is a mind boggling 1,025-177-1  They are 325-35 in conference.  They are 218-4 in the Western Athletic Conference.  Shoji was named to the NCAA Division I 25th Anniversary Team in 2005 as the head coach. He has coached 24 All-Americans who have won 46 awards.  Shoji has been named WAC Coach of the Year 10 times, AVCA Region Coach of the Year 10 times and National Coach of the Year twice.  Shoji was inducted into the AVCA Hall of Fame earlier this month.

Rainbow Wahine great Robyn Ah Mow-Santos was recently on hand to celebrate the program's 1,000th win.  In addition to developing Mow-Santos as a player, Shoji helped her develop as a person.  He encouraged her to enroll in speech and theater classes as a way to get her to open up.  He sent her to the Olympic Festival in 1995 before her senior year.  Now, Mow-Santos has played for the U.S. national team in three Olympics, bringing home the silver medal at the 2008 Games in Beijing , China . 

"Dave gave me my opportunity in life," said Ah Mow-Santos.  "It was great to be a part of something so special. Setters have it hard and somehow get the brunt of the blame all the time. He made me a stronger person mentally and prepared me well for my career with the national team."

Women's volleyball to some is a financial burden.  In Hawai'i , it is second only to football for the school's largest source of financial income.  The Rainbow Wahine lead the nation in attendance, averaging over 7,000 fans per match.  Coach Shoji has taken Hawai'i from a little-known program to a national power.  Hawaii reached #3 this season and hope to earn one of the top four seeds in the upcoming tournament.

Some of the top volleyball players in the nation have played in front of those spectacular crowds:


Robyn Ah Mow was a two-time All-American (1995, 1996) and played on the United States Olympic volleyball team in 2000, 2004 and 2008.

Reydan "Tita" Ahuna, also a two-time All-American (1985 and 1986); head coach of Hawai'i Pacific's two-time Division II National Champions

Joey Akeo, All-American in 1974 and 1977

Heather Brown, All-American in 1998 and 1999, two-time WAC Player of the Year; USA Olympic volleyball team member in 2000, 2004 and 2008.

Deitre Collins-Parker, three-time All-American (1981, 1982 and 1983), two-time AVCA National Player of the Year (1982, 1983); USA Olympic volleyball team member (1988-1992); current head coach of San Diego State; member of the NCAA Division I 25th Anniversary Team.

Aneli Cubi-Otineru, AVCA All-American in 2005, All-WAC Team:  1st decade 2000's.

Joyce Ka'apuni, AIAW All-American (1974).

Kanoe Kaman'o, four-time AVCA All-American, all-time assist leader at Hawai'i , three-time WAC Player of the Year (2004, 2005 and 2006), 2003 AVCA National Freshman of the Year.

Amber Kaufman, 2009 All-American; also won the 2008, 2009 and 2010 national high jump championship.

Angelica Ljungquist, AVCA National Player of the Year in 1996, four-time All-American; 1st Team All-American in 1995 and 1996; 1995 Big West Player of the Year, 1996 WAC Player of the Year.

Tonya "Teee" Williams, two-time National Player of the Year (1987, 1989), three-time All-American (1987, 1988 and 1989), member of the USA Olympic volleyball team (1992 and 1996).

Kim Willoughby, National Player of the Year (2003); three-time All-Amerian (2001, 2002 and 2003); three-time WAC Player of the Year (2001-2003); holds NCAA record for kills in a single season; USA Olympic team member (2008).


Hawai'i , Bronco Nation recognizes and salutes your amazing women's volleyball team.  It is a historic ride you have been on since Coach Shoji took over and led the Rainbow Wahine to greatness.  Congratulations—you are second to none!

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