Dave Shoji was the head coach of the Hawaii women's volleyball team for 42 years from 1975-2016. He is the second winningest coach in Division I NCAA volleyball with 1,202 wins and an .855 winning percentage.
Shoji is a member of the AVCA Hall of Fame, he is an 13-time conference and nine-time region Coach of the Year, and was named the National Coach of the Year in 1982 and in 2009. He has also been inducted into the Hawai‘i Sports Hall of Fame.
In Shoji’s first four years at the helm of the program, he took the team to two national title matches before he won the title in 1979 with a five-game victory over Utah State in the AIAW finals. It was the school’s first-ever team national championship. Hawaii also won championships in 1982, 1983 and 1987 under Shoji.
All this is to say that Shoji has coached a wealth of phenomenal players in his career. NCAA.com tasked Shoji to create his ultimate Hawaii volleyball dream player, picking one player for 11 different categories. Here are his picks for each category and what he had to say about each player:
Robyn Ah Mow — 1993-1996
"Three-time Olympian and current-coach of the Wahine volleyball team. But Robyn Ah Mow was THE setter. A kid from public school that was really shy, hardly said anything. But she had sweet hands."
- Two-time AVCA All-America, First Team (1995, ’96)
- Three-time All-Conference, First Team (1994, ’95, ’96)
- In her final two seasons, the ‘Bows recorded a 66-4 combined record which included an appearance in the NCAA title match in 1996
- Inducted into the Hawaii Sports Hall of Fame (2011)
- Hawaii women’s volleyball head coach (2017-present)
The Brick Wall
Angelica Ljungquist — 1993-1996
"Hawaii has had so many amazing middle blockers, and blockers, but Angelica Ljungquist would head the list."
- One of Hawaii's two four-time AVCA All-Americans
- 1996 AVCA and Volleyball Magazine National Player of the Year
- 1996 Honda Award for volleyball
Reydan "Tita" Ahuna — 1984-1987
"All-around player, never came out of the game. Could set, hit, block pass. But she was a real leader. She was a leader since she was a freshman. Everyone looked up to her and listened to her. That's an easy one."
- AVCA Second-team All-American in 1985
- Ranks in UH career top-10 lists in kills, attempts, aces, digs and digs per game
- First player to post career marks of 1,000 kills and 1,000 digs
- 1987 NCAA champion
Deitre Collins — 1981-1983
"Deitre Collins was such a great player, a three-time All-American and Broderick winner. But she could fire up the team just with a kill, turn around and jump. Just got everybody fired up. An amazing player with a lot of energy."
- Three-time AVCA All-American
- 1982 and 1983 Honda Award winner for volleyball
- 1983 Honda Broderick cup winner as top female collegiate athlete
- Ranks in the UH career top-10 lists in kills, kills per game, hitting percentage, block solos, total blocks and blocks per game
- Member of the 1982 and 1983 national championship teams
The Pancake Getter
Liz Ka'aihue — 2007-2010
"First player we gave a scholarship to as a back-row player. She holds just about every dig record in Hawaii's books. In high school she was a great hitter but we thought she would be a great back-row player and she turned out to be."
- Finished her career second all-time in the UH career record book in digs with 1,416 total digs (3.68 per game)
The Ace Machine
Amber Kaufman — 2006-2009
"She had 11 aces in one match and helped us beat Washington. When she got it going, it was a pretty lethal weapon."
- Holds the record for most aces in a match with 11
Kim Willoughby — 2000-2003
"Holds just about every offensive record in the Wahine. She was an amazing player. She had all the skills, she could serve, dig, block. Complete volleyball player but definitely The Terminator."
- Three-time AVCA first team All-American
- Named AVCA and Volleyball Magazine National Player of the Year in 2003
- Holds five UH career records and five single-season records
- The NCAA all-time single-season leader (30-point format) in kills (850) and kills per game (7.20)
- Member of three NCAA semifinalist teams (2000, 2002, 2003)
The Swiss Army Knife
Kori Pulaski — 1980-1983
"She got a lot of kills just based on some heat. She could bring it. But she also was really smart. She knew when to go high, got a lot of kills going off the block and out of bounds. Just a really smart, smart player, and she had to be at 5-foot-8. She couldn't go over but she could go through, around, and just had every shot in the book."
- AVCA All-American in 1982
- Member of 1982 and 1982 national championship teams
The Unsung Hero
Emily Hartong — 2010-2013
"She came in as a middle blocker and we moved her to outside. But she never was one that commanded a lot of attention. She was just low-maintenance, low key, very efficient. We used to set her 80 balls and she would never complain. Just an amazing person. Always kind of in the background and never the highlight player but an amazing volleyball player."
- Named AVCA first team All-American and Big West Player of the Year as a senior in 2013
- Second team All-American in 2011
The Dirty Worker
Aneli Cubi-Otineru — 2007-2009
"She did everything for Hawaii. She played left, right, dug a lot of balls, all six rotations, anything we needed her to do. One of those players that at the end of practice you would look at her and be like, 'Man what have you been through?' Because she was always drenched in sweat, her uniform was dirty, wobbling all the time. She did a lot for our program."
- AVCA third team All-American in 2009
- Ranks in top five in aces in the UH record book
- Member of 2009 NCAA semifinalist team
The Clutch Gene
Teee Williams — 1987-1989
"Teee was a great player for us. Every time we needed a side-out or needed to score a point, the ball was going to go to Teee. When we really needed something, it was going to go to her, and everyone in the gym knew it, but she could come through. I would say she was one of the most clutch hitters we've ever had."
- Three-time AVCA first team All-American
- 1987 AVCA and Volleyball Magazine Player of the Year
- 1989 AVCA Co-Player of the Year
- 1988 Big West Co-Player of the Year
- Ranks in top five in kills, attempts, kills per game, digs, digs per game and block solos, while ranking in the top 10 in hitting percentage in the UH career record book
- Member of the 1987 NCAA championship team and the 1988 NCAA finalist team