Chun new executive director
By Wes Nakama
Advertiser Staff Writer
Honolulu attorney Christopher Chun signed a contract yesterday afternoon to become the new executive director of the Hawai'i High School Athletic Association, succeeding Keith Amemiya.
Chun, a 1992 'Iolani School graduate and civil litigation attorney with Lyle S. Hosoda & Associates, will start his new job March 1. Amemiya, a highly regarded leader who changed the landscape of local high school sports in his 11 years at the helm, will work through March 6, then begin his new position as interim executive administrator and secretary of the University of Hawai'i Board of Regents on March 8.
As HHSAA executive director, Chun will oversee operation of the nonprofit organization, which is the governing body for the state's five leagues and 95 member schools. The HHSAA's primary responsibility will be coordinating and executing the various state tournaments.
"I'm excited," Chun, 35, told The Advertiser last night. "I wouldn't say there's pressure (replacing Amemiya), it's more anticipation and excitement. I feel confident I can do the job. Keith and I have similar backgrounds, socially and educationally, and the first thing I want to do is meet with him and pick his brain as much as I can."
Chun has a bachelors of arts degree in American studies from the University of Hawai'i, a master's degree in criminal justice and public administration from Chaminade and graduated from UH's William S. Richardson School of Law in 2003.
He has been a civil litigation attorney for Hosoda & Associates since September 2004, also serving as general counsel for the O'ahu Interscholastic Association.
Chun said he played football and baseball at 'Iolani before an injury cut his competitive career short before his senior year.
HHSAA president Meredith Maeda said that among the three finalists evaluated by the board on Feb. 5, none has a background in high school athletic administration. He said after much discussion, the board selected Chun based on "three areas where he came out really strong."
"First was his ability to show leadership," Maeda said. "We also prioritized his interpersonal skills and relationships with other board members."
In addition to serving as the OIA's general counsel the past five years, Chun also assisted the HHSAA on some legal matters.
"Being familiar (with the OIA and HHSAA) and already having a relationship will help," Chun said. "I've attended principals and (athletic director) meetings, I'm familiar with the bylaws ... I think all of that will help with the transition."
Maeda said Chun's lack of athletic administrative background "wasn't even a concern" for the board.
"There was a feeling of communication, that we expect the new executive director will get a lot of help from the current state tournament coordinators and athletic directors," Maeda said. "He'll learn the fine points and get support from the league executive directors."
Amemiya's regard in the community elevated throughout his tenure, largely due to projects such as the SOS (Save Our Sports) campaign, which has raised more than $1.4 million to help public schools offset recent state budget cuts that left them operating at less than 64 percent of their 2008-2009 allocations.
But Maeda emphasized that the SOS campaign is not part of the HHSAA executive director's official job duties.
"What we will expect of Chris is what was expected of Keith when he began (his tenure)," Maeda said. "The SOS has been successful, but at this point in time we don't foresee corporations donating that kind of money every year. We're looking more toward long-term sponsorships for the state tournaments."
Chun, who is married with two children, said he signed a three-year contract. The salary range posted for the position was $75,000 to $90,000.
Read his blog on high school sports at http://preptalk.honadvblogs.com.