University of Hawai’i coaching legend Dave Shoji has officially retired and Robyn Ah Mow-Santos will become the first new coach of the program in 42 years. The following is the University of Hawai’i news release that went out Monday afternoon:
Former University of Hawai’i All-American, Olympian, and assistant coach Robyn Ah Mow-Santos will take over for Dave Shoji as women’s volleyball program’s next head coach, Athletics Director David Matlin announced.
Ah Mow-Santos succeeds Shoji who simultaneously announced his retirement after 42 seasons as head coach. Shoji concludes his legendary coaching career with 1,202 wins, second-most in NCAA Division I history, and four national championships.
“I don’t think anyone will ever match what Dave has accomplished for our Rainbow Wahine volleyball program in terms of longevity and accomplishments,” Matlin said. “He has dedicated more than half of his life to the program and has touched the lives of hundreds of student-athletes. His legacy will live on through his well-deserved induction into the AVCA Hall of Fame and through all the blood, sweat and tears his teams have battled through on the court at Klum Gym and the Teraflex at the Stan Sheriff Center. Rainbow Wahine Volleyball will always raise a glass to Dave Shoji.”
“I’m happy to officially announce my retirement as the Rainbow Wahine volleyball coach,” Shoji said. “After much discussion with my wife Mary and my immediate family we felt the time was right to step away from coaching. I feel truly humbled and honored to have coached for 42 years and I’m grateful for all the support from our great fans, student-athletes, assistant coaches, and administration. The selection of Robyn Ah Mow-Santos is an excellent choice. She has the passion for the game; she found success at every level as a player; and she paid her dues as an assistant coach and is now ready to assume a head coaching position. She will have my full support and I wish her nothing but the best.”
Ah Mow-Santos is only the third head coach in program history. She is considered one of the most decorated players in school history, with an impressive resume that includes three Olympic Games appearances, two first-team All-America selections, and is a member of the school’s Sports Circle of Honor and Hawai’i Sports Hall of Fame.
“We are excited about the return of Robyn Ah Mow-Santos to the University of Hawai’i Rainbow Wahine Volleyball program,” Matlin said. “There is no other person I can think of who represents the sport of volleyball, the spirit of Hawai’i, and the heart of a champion more than Robyn. She was impressive as a student-athlete, a leader of Team USA in three Olympic Games and is an incredible role model for all young athletes. I know she will be able to get the best out of her student-athletes both in the classroom and on the court.”
Matlin forwarded his recommendation of Ah Mow-Santos to UH Manoa interim chancellor David Lassner, who approved the selection yesterday.
“I am excited and humbled at the same time,” Ah Mow-Santos said. “Replacing Dave Shoji is impossible. I will never forget what he has done for me personally as well as the Hawai’i volleyball program. Dave walked me out of the McKinley High School gym and into the Rainbow Wahine program that created a lot of opportunities for me. It’s a privilege for me to be able to give back to the University and the game that has given me so much. I look forward to reuniting with the student-athletes and hope that I can help create lasting impressions and unforgettable experiences for them.”
From 2011-15, Ah Mow-Santos served as assistant coach under Shoji, mentoring former UH setter Mita Uiato, who earned three all-league and all-region honors and honorable mention All-America status. In 2014, she was on the coaching staff of U.S. Junior National Team for the NORCECA Women’s U-20 Continental Championship. She currently coaches club volleyball for the Vegas Aces.
Following her playing career at UH, Ah Mow-Santos went on to compete for the U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team from 1999 to 2008 and was regarded as one of the top international setters in the world. She was the team’s starting setter in the 2000 and ’04 Olympic Games and in 2008, she helped guide Team USA to a silver-medal finish at the Beijing Olympics. She also played professionally in Italy, Portugal and Switzerland. While playing for Volero Zurich in Switzerland, she earned the Swiss League’s most valuable player award.
At UH, Ah Mow-Santos played for Shoji from 1993-96 and was a two-time AVCA first-team All-America selection (1995 and ’96), and a three-time all-conference performer (1994, ’95 in Big West and 1996 in WAC). The Honolulu native ranks third in the UH record book in career assists (4,313) and fourth in assists per game (11.23), and in her final two seasons at Hawai’i, she guided the team to a 66-4 combined record which included an appearance in the NCAA title match in 1996.
At the conclusion of her playing career, Ah Mow-Santos was a student assistant for two seasons as she continued to pursue her bachelor’s degree.
Ah Mow-Santos prepped at McKinley High School in Honolulu where she was a four-year first-team all-Oahu Interscholastic Association East selection and a three-time first team all-state pick. She is married to Niobel Rafael Santos and they have three children.
The exact start date for Ah Mow-Santos has not been determined. “She needs some time to honor previous commitments she has made before she can jump on a plane,” Matlin said.