Kyle Hiranaga: An Island Inspiration
Hawaii is a place known for having one of the widest varieties of ethnicities and cultures in the U.S. That’s why the state has often been fondly referred to as “the melting pot.” Because of Hawaii’s unique demographics, many public schools include a wide variety of ethnicities among their student population. And one of the most diverse public schools in Honolulu is President William McKinley High School, which is where Coach Kyle Hiranaga coaches the McKinley Tigers as both a Junior Team Tennis coach, and as the school’s varsity tennis coach.
Hiranaga, who is of third generation Japanese/Okinawan descent, began playing on a JTT team and on his high school tennis team in the ninth grade, after switching to the sport from baseball.
Upon returning to Hawaii after graduating from the University of Redlands in California, he got his master’s degree in education at the University of Hawaii. His love for the sport of tennis prompted him to start a 4.0 JTT team and begin coaching the McKinley High School tennis team, where he also taught science before becoming Academy Coordinator.
Hiranaga feels that coaching is a good fit for him because he loves working with kids. Coaching JTT motivates him in that there are no feeder programs to the high school tennis team at McKinley, so working with the younger kids makes him his own best talent scout. In addition, he recognizes the value that JTT provides to his high school team as an opportunity for young players to improve and to experience a higher level of competition. He has created teams for USTA JTT for the last six years in the 4.0-18 division.
Hiranga is also dedicated to bringing his student-athletes out to volunteer on a regular basis, knowing not just the value in volunteering but the importance of his charges having that volunteer history on their respective resumes. He and his team have volunteered at many USTA events as well as other events in Honolulu.
Over the last five years, he has opened the McKinley tennis courts for USTA workshops and events, for the Davis Cup when it was last held in Honolulu, as well as other USTA community events including the Great Aloha Run Expo, Children and Youth Day, and Tennis Championships of Honolulu. His team members are always on-time, enthusiastic and hardworking. Through his leadership, the players have gained rich experiences both on and off the court.
Hiranaga has been a powerful role model for his team members, who hail from a variety of cultural backgrounds, including Filipino, Chinese, Vietnamese, Cambodian, Pacific Islanders, Japanese, and Korean families. He and his four assistant coaches have helped the team members to build extraordinarily strong cultural relations.
Through his commitment and passion, Hiranaga has embodied to his team what he calls the “five qualities of a positive role model,” including, “passion and ability to inspire; clear set of values; a commitment to community; selflessness and acceptance of others; and the ability to overcome obstacles."
Because of Kyle Hiranaga, the McKinley High School teams have gained rich experiences, both on and off the court. The growth and achievements of McKinley High School Tennis is a testament to his passion for the game
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