Sports

Brun Returns to Islands to Coach UHH Softball

September 11, 2014, 6:22 PM HST
* Updated September 11, 6:24 PM
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She’s spent years rooting for Hawai`i schools while she has been coaching on the mainland. Now, Patti “Peejay” Brun will get to take the helm of a collegiate program in the islands.

Brun, a Kauai native and University of Hawai`i softball standout from 1990-1994, was officially announced Wednesday as the Head Coach of the University of Hawai`i at Hilo softball team.

“Being originally from the islands, that was the big catch that got me interested in the job,” Brun said. “I’ve been coaching for a really long time now and being able to come back to the islands and just share all the experience that I’ve had and help the future players in Hawai`i just kinda build themselves up, all of that stuff attracted me to this position.

Brun left Division I Texas State, where she was an assistant coach, to take the UH-Hilo job. Texas State competes in the Sun Belt Conference. The Bobcats made three NCAA regional appearances while Brun served on the coaching staff.

Prior to her Texas State job, she was the head coach at Division I Siena College for four seasons.

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Brun’s last coaching stint in Hawai`i was as the head coach at Moanalua High School from 1995-1996. While she has been on the mainland and overseas, she hasn’t stopped paying attention to the local softball scene.

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“I’ve always been big on hoping that the Hawai`i teams were going to be the ones to kinda dominate,” Brun explained. “I kinda quietly always rooted for them. There’s always been a little tracking, just to see if any of the island schools were going to be making it to the postseason. When Hilo made it a few years ago, I kinda watched them through their regionals.”

Brun replaces Jaime Wallin, who left the program in May to take a non-coaching opportunity in May.

One of Brun’s first tasks is to complete the 2015 schedule, which currently holds just 42 games out of a maximum limit of 56. “That’s gonna be a disadvantage when you start getting to the postseason because those teams are going to have so much more experience, so I’m already in talks with San Francisco State to try and pick up some games with them.”

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Her other task is an ongoing one: bringing the community closer to the softball program.

“From what I’ve gotten a lot, really, on just my travels here is that there’s been a slight separation between the community and the program,” Brun said. “I want to bridge that. That’s really huge on my list because I do believe that in order to be a successful program, it takes more than just a coach and the players. It really takes an entire community to help a program really become successful and dominate.”

“Peejay has the combination of collegiate coaching experience and local knowledge that I am looking for to build a successful Vulcans program,” said UH-Hilo Interim Athletic Director Tim Moore in a statement. “She has a track record that shows she is a winner and we are fortunate to add a person of her caliber on our coaching staff.”

The Vulcans are coming off of a 22-20 finish last season, good for a sixth place PacWest Conference finish. UH-Hilo is slated to open the 2015 season on the road against Cal State University Monterey Bay on Feb. 11.

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