Ex-'Bow pitching in at HPU
By Stacy Kaneshiro
Advertiser Staff Writer
An elbow injury ended Rich Olsen's playing career at the University of Hawai'i four seasons ago. Still, he has found his way back into the college game.
The former Rainbows' pitcher is entering his first season as pitching coach for the Division II Hawai'i Pacific Sea Warriors. This comes after serving the past two seasons as an assistant at Kalāheo High.
"I see it as a way to give back to the community and help them out," Olsen said of his venture into college coaching. "Help them enough so that they get a shot at getting into pro ball."
Olsen pitched for the Rainbows from 2003 to 2006. An elbow injury in the middle of the 2006 season resulted in him having Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery, which ultimately ended his playing career. He works for TC Logistics, which he said is affiliated with Island Movers.
He hadn't considered coaching while at UH; he had hoped to still be playing. But the injury changed things.
"After I got injured, the best way I could stay in the game was to help kids fulfill their dreams and goals in life," he said.
Olsen likes what he sees in HPU's pitching staff.
"I'm pretty impressed," Olsen said. "I think we'll have a real good solid year."
He said he will try to pass on his experiences from playing Division I baseball.
"I can help them with the mental aspects of the game," he said. "We can build that and be stronger because they have the talent. Most of these guys can play DI. If we can make them mentally strong, it will be a lot better for us."
With the new Maui team of the independent Golden League starting up, Olsen said pitching again might be in his plans.
"I need a year to get in shape for that one," Olsen said. "If I could get my arm back in shape, I would try out. I'll see how it goes this year with them, then maybe next year I'll go out."
HPU will hold its annual alumni game at 2 p.m. Feb. 6 at Hans L'Orange Park. The Sea Warriors open their regular season Feb. 13 at Hawai'i-Hilo.