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Coach Speak: Pagaduan gets things done for Sabers, MIL

MPD sergeant stresses gun safety as air riflery coach of successful Maui High program

Maui High School air riflery coach Lawrence Pagaduan looks on as members of his team participate in a team-building exercise in which they must all do push-ups at the same time. — Photo courtesy of Lawrence Pagaduan

Lawrence Pagaduan is known as “Dune” to his friends and family. To the Maui Interscholastic League air riflery ranks, he is simply known as a man who gets things done.

The Maui Police Department sergeant is set to retire on Aug. 1 to wrap up a 25-year career, but he will continue to lead the Maui High School rifle teams as head coach.

“I’m going to continue with the air riflery thing until they find a good replacement,” he said. “I wouldn’t mind still helping out, especially since I will be retired so I should have the time. I do want to kind of take it easy and enjoy family life.”

That will include spending more time with his daughter Jordyn, a recent Maui High graduate who was a four-year member of the program her father coaches.

“It was fun being able to coach her,” Lawrence Pagaduan said. “I deferred a lot of that to our other coaches — you know how tough it can be coaching your own.”

Maui High coach Lawrence Pagaduan talks with Taylor McCary as she shoots in the prone position. — Photo courtesy of Lawrence Pagaduan

Jordyn Pagaduan appreciated her father’s efforts for the entire team.

“I learned from my dad and I knew what I was doing — I didn’t get any extra learning on the side, I got what everybody else did,” Jordyn Pagaduan said. “It was good because I was comfortable enough to talk to him about everything that was going on. I could always go to him about the problems that I’m having shooting, so it was good.”

Fellow MPD officers Ned Kanekoa and Ryan Nagata are assistant coaches for the Sabers under Pagaduan, along with Ed McCary. Like Pagaduan, they share a love of hunting.

“It was awesome working with those guys with the team,” Lawrence Pagaduan said. “I was the school resource officer sergeant for about six years and those guys worked under me, so they wanted to help out. They are also avid hunters and proficient shooters.”

In addition to the many duties Lawrence Pagaduan and his wife Mokihana perform for the MIL riflery ranks, he stresses to his student-athletes the importance of gun safety.

“I’m a firearms instructor and have been with the Maui Police Department for most of my career — gun safety is always of the utmost importance, so we love educating people on gun safety,” Pagaduan said. “You want people to be safe all the way around, it’s good knowledge to have, especially with the kids. Just to operate a firearm correctly and safely and properly is always our passion.

“Working with the kids, teaching them gun safety, the shooting sports is awesome, I enjoy it,” Pagaduan said. “Especially taking kids that have never shot before, that is fun to introduce them to the shooting sports and gun safety and getting them proficient and comfortable.”

Pagaduan attended two different universities in Georgia, where he developed a deeper respect for hunting and gun safety. He grew up hunting wild goats, pigs and axis deer in Maui County.

“In Georgia, I did a lot of white tail (deer), black bear and hog, other stuff,” Pagaduan said of his four-year stay. “I haven’t ever bagged anything too big — I’m more of a meat hunter. When I went with my friends to hunt black bear, I never really wanted to shoot one.”

The Sabers often had to cut the team because they had more students turn out than they had air guns, having as many as 50 students try out.

“I hated to do that — I wanted to give the opportunity to as many kids as we could,” he said.

Pagaduan was born and raised on Maui and graduated from Maui High in 1989. Being an officer carried weight with the team, Jordyn Pagaduan said.

“I think it did help a little because they had the team realize, ‘Oh, he knows what he’s doing’ because he does it for a career,” she said.

In his seven years as Sabers head coach, Lawrence Pagaduan has guided three MIL team champions — the boys in 2019, girls in 2017 and 2014. He has also coached Jordan Shim (2019) and Christopher Naputi (2013) to boys MIL individual titles, and Kamila Hera (2019) and Tiffany Kokubun (2014, 2015) to MIL girls crowns.

“Coach Dune works well with our student-athletes,” Maui High athletic director Mike Ban said. “He was able to build our air riflery program. Our student participation numbers increased and our air riflery athletes felt successful.”

Ban added that the MPD connection is a big part of what Pagaduan offers to the program.

“The MPD connection has many benefits,” Ban said. “It’s always positive when MPD officers are part of the coaching staff.”

Pagaduan often takes the role of range master to run the league-wide Saturday shooting sessions. That is much appreciated by MIL air riflery coordinator Lee DeRouin, the Molokai athletic director who is not always able to be at the events because of travel demands.

“Coach Dune is so committed to the kids of MIL riflery,” DeRouin said via text. “He is always helpful to all the schools, very dedicated and it shows with the number of kids who go out for the Maui High (air riflery teams) and the great results the teams show each and every year.

“The MIL is truly blessed to have coach Dune and his staff of coaches — he goes the extra mile each year to make sure the live shoots go so well.”

* Robert Collias is at rcollias@mauinews.com

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