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Paschoal moves to Baldwin

Bears also announce new coaches for cheerleading, girls track and girls water polo

Al Paschoal (teal shirt), who led King Kekaulike High School to five of the last six MIL girls volleyball titles, has been hired at Baldwin. The Maui News / ROBERT COLLIAS photo

For Al Paschoal, the date seemed fitting.

Paschoal found out Thursday evening that he has been hired as the girls volleyball coach at Baldwin High School, moving to his alma mater after leading King Kekaulike to five of the last six Maui Interscholastic League titles.

Thursday was also the first anniversary of his father’s death. It was at a family gathering Thursday evening that Paschoal got the word from Baldwin athletic director Wade Hondo that the job was his.

“It was a good day — I was like, ‘Hey, my dad helped make that call,” so that’s nice,” Paschoal said on Friday. “We’re excited, there’s a history of fantastic athletes that come out of Baldwin, so we’re excited to see what we can do there.”

Hondo sent an email Friday announcing four new coaches for the school: Paschoal, Michelle Sniffen (cheerleading), Lauren Shinozuka (girls water polo) and Chris Kawaguchi (girls track and field). All are Baldwin alumni.

The Paschoal family lives in Central Maui and he is the director of student life at the University of Hawaii-Maui College in Kahului.

Paschoal said leaving King Kekaulike, where he guided several eventual college players — including Chandler Cowell of St. Mary’s College and Treyanna Freitas of Washington State — was not easy. Sheryl Paschoal, a former MIL Player of the Year at Maui High and two-time NAIA national champion at BYU-Hawaii, was an assistant coach with her husband at King Kekaulike and is expected to be at Baldwin as well.

“We came from a fantastic program and the administration was unbelievable and we couldn’t have asked for a better situation as far as coaching,” Al Paschoal said. “It just ended up taking a toll on our family because of distance that we had to travel every single day. With the majority of our family rooted downtown centrally now, my daughter (Lilinoe) attending a central intermediate school as well, it just became increasingly difficult to give the (King Kekaulike) program the dedicated time it deserved.”

He is excited for the opportunity to coach at the school he graduated from in 1990. He takes over the Baldwin program from Helaman Aiwohi, who stepped down after the 2019 season.

“After this past season, we sat down and had a family discussion and we made the decision that it was time to step away from Kekaulike — I absolutely love the place and honestly if it was closer we wouldn’t leave,” Al Paschoal said. “But completely excited that we get to start something new at Baldwin, my alma mater. We had a fantastic meeting with both the athletic director (Hondo) and principal (Keoni Wilhelm), so we’re definitely excited to move forward, to see if we can build on what the previous coaches have done and hopefully take the program to another step up.”

Paschoal said that he can get to Baldwin practice from his office at UH-MC in less than five minutes.

“Honestly I could probably walk there in five minutes if I wanted to, but I’m not saying that I will,” he said. “Both my wife and I work basically across the street from Baldwin. It defintiely took a toll on us last year when we would leave the house in the morning when it was dark and then we would come home when it was dark. You do that six days a week if there’s games and it takes a toll. So I’m looking forward to still be able to commit quality time in the gym while also spending time with my family.”

The press release on the four new coaches read, in part: “On behalf of everyone at BHS Athletics, we would like send out a heartfelt mahalo the following head coaches who have decided to step down/retire from their current positions –Kealli Molina (cheer), Helaman Aiwohi (girls volleyball), Shawn Donohue (girls water polo) and Keoni Tengan (girls track). All have put in countless hours and have had a profound positive effect on our student-athletes that have gone through and thrived under their expert leadership.”

Molina, who guided the Bears to the MIL’s first large-division state championship last fall and was also a part of medium-division state title teams at Kamehameha Maui in 2013 and 2014, said he had to step away from the Baldwin program as his Hawaii All-Star Cheerleading Club has nearly doubled in size recently.

“This year we are fielding, like, eight teams instead of the normal four to five teams,” Molina said. “So it was more so of a time-commitment thing than anything else. This is the first time I haven’t coached a high school cheerleading team in about 15 years, so it’s going to be a little bit different not having a high school. Yeah, definitely going to miss that side of it, that aspect of it, being at the games and all that fun stuff.”

Molina is not leaving the Bears in unfamiliar hands — Sniffen works with Molina at Hawaii All-Stars.

“Michelle comes from our program here at the gym, too — she coaches with me at the gym,” Molina said. “So we kind of kept it in-house, I’m still going to be around to help her out.”

When asked if he felt like he was leaving the Baldwin program in good hands, Molina said, “100 percent, she’s a great coach here at the gym, at Hawaii All-Stars. She’s going to be great at high school, too.”

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