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FEATURE : Longtime Artesia Punishers president, coach adding new challenge to his softball resume

 

Artesia Punishers 18 Gold travel softball head coach Bob Medina, shown talking to a pair of his players at the 2019 Premier Girls Fastpitch National Championships, was recently hired to be an assistant coach for Chaminade University in Honolulu, Hawai’i. Medina has previously coached at two other colleges in Southern California and a pair of local high schools. FILE PHOTO BY ARMANDO VARGAS, Contributing photographer.

 

May 12, 2021

By Loren Kopff

@LorenKopff on Twitter

 

Bob Medina, the president of the Artesia Punishers travel softball organization and head coach of its 18 Gold team has always been up for a challenge. Now, he is taking on probably one of his biggest challenges, if not the biggest.

Medina was recently named an assistant coach for Chaminade University’s softball team in Honolulu, Hawai’i. The last piece of paperwork Medina signed was in late March and five hours later, after flying across the Pacific Ocean, he was on the field at Chaminade. Had it not been for the pandemic, Medina would have had signed all the paperwork last September. Medina had been offered coaching positions the past three years at other universities but felt Chaminade was the best fit.

“At one point, my daughter [Michelle] asked me, ‘why aren’t you taking one of them’,” Medina said. “I said, ‘well, I don’t know’. She goes, ‘do the I want to still coach the Punishers, I want to be able to be the guy that can get [the players] the scholarships and guide them in the right direction’.

“With Chaminade, I’m able to go, and not every day,” he continued. “So, I’m able to go and spend ‘X’ amount of time there and come back and spend ‘X’ amount of time here. It’s not an everyday thing from 11:00 to 3:00, 11:00 to 5:00 and then the weekend, Saturday and Sunday. I thought it would work out schedule-wise better for me. I’ve known [Chaminade head] coach Kent [Yamaguchi] for about 18 years. So, [that’s] one of those factors.”

The first time Medina talked to Yamaguchi about a coaching possibility was two years ago. About that time, Medina was offered a head coaching job on the East Coast and was told that if he coached for one year, he could probably write his ticket to another school. However, Medina said he wasn’t interested in being a head coach. Medina said he had to go through a grueling process to get approved to be on Chaminade’s coaching staff, not counting the Covid situation.

Medina has also coached at Cerritos High, St. Joseph High, California State University, Dominguez Hills and Cypress College in addition to the Artesia Punishers. He has sent a lot of his former Artesia Punishers to Chaminade in the past, most recently former Whitney High star pitcher Taylor Genera. He said it was one of those things where one day when Yamaguchi was on the mainland and told Medina that it was just him at Chaminade; that he didn’t have any other coaches. Yamaguchi, who just wrapped up his 15th season as the head coach of Chaminade, was about to call Medina a few years ago but he didn’t because Medina needed to certified per NCAA rules. Medina remembers telling Yamaguchi that he would do it; he would help him, but he needed to be 100 percent in.

The two have been talking about that the past two years and it came to a point where Yamaguchi told Medina, ‘let’s do this, let’s get it done, I have no coaches’. Medina said he was all set to go and Chaminade had its schedule put together, then the pandemic hit.

“What was cool was that I was able to interact with the team through Zoom all through that,” Medina said. “I got very educated with that, which I wasn’t [before the pandemic]. I was able to interact with the team, but not physically interact because I wasn’t there. It kind of worked out really nice for me that I knew all the kids; I know everything that’s going on. I talk to coach Kent every day, if not twice a day.”

In 2007, Medina coached the Punishers 18-Under team to the Amateur Softball Association National Championship and in 2018, his 18 Gold team finished in third place of the Platinum Division in the Premier Girls Fastpitch National Championships. Medina has also won numerous summer tournaments that were held at Artesia Park before the days of the PGF, state tournaments and Western Nationals.

“I always taking on certain challenges, putting kids on [collegiate] teams and stuff like that,” Medina said. “I’m always up for a challenge. This is a big challenge for me. I’m very dedicated in what I do. I told [Kent] if he has me, I’ll stay there for five years; I’ll dedicate five years. But what I want to do is I want to win a National Championship and we have to geared into [winning] a National Championship in those five years. In the short period of time that I’ve been there, we are geared in that direction with Chaminade.”

The Silverswords recently concluded a 12-12 season in which all games were played against Hawai’i Pacific University and the University of Hawai’i at Hilo. Chaminade is part of the PacWest Conference that also includes Azusa Pacific University, Biola University and Concordia University here in the Southland. But because of the pandemic, the PacWest divided its member schools into pods to limit the amount of travel. The last time Chaminade had a winning record was in 2013 when the Silverswords went 25-21. Before that, the last winning season was in 2002.

“After all these years of doing travel ball and stuff like that, you get into Chaminade and it’s very structured,” Medina said. “The kids are very focused. They have a purpose; everybody has a purpose. They’re there to play softball. Some of them are on scholarships, some of them are not. But everybody is dedicated for the same goal in the end. For me, to see this again, I find it quite comforting because it’s a very structured softball game, which travel ball used to be. Travel ball has changed, of course, because of different things. But I’m very happy doing it and I think we’ll be very successful at Chaminade.”

 

 

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