Coach Earl Tamiya
One of the driving forces behind the Amer Ari Intercollegiate is UH Hilo head golf coached Earl Tamiya, who has led the Vulcans since 1991. Under his guidance, UH Hilo teams have won Pacific Conference Division II titles in 2005, 2008, 2011, and 2014. The 2004 squad went on to finish fourth at the NCAA Division II national championships; and the 2005 team finished fifth.
“Waikoloa has been fantastic, they’ve been 1,000 percent supportive over the years,” says Tamiya. “From Joe Root and Dennis Rose when we put this tournament together in 1991, and especially today, even in high season when the tournament takes place, we are welcomed and made to feel right at home.” Because of the strong relationship between UH Hilo and Waikoloa Beach Resort, the Amer Ari is ranked in the top five collegiate tournaments in the U.S.
Beyond his teams’ successes over the years, though, Coach Tamiya is quite fondly remembered as a warm tournament host who embodies aloha to the visiting teams and their families.
“Everyone loves Earl Tamiya, myself included,” says Oregon’s Coach Martin. “He has a warmth about him that makes him beloved. He has done a lot for college golf by hosting this prestigious event every year.”
Ginoza concurs. “Coach Tamiya is a great tournament host,” he says. “He projects such a warm welcome to everyone who comes. Normally there is a luau, where we offer the mainland coaches and players some of the local flavors of Hawai`i, such as Big Island Candies, Kona coffee, or even slippers. Food, Earl’s smile, and gifts always go a long way!”
Photo: PGA Tour star Matt Kuchar (third from right) and his Georgia Tech teammates won back-to-back titles (2000-2001) at the Amer Ari. Georgia Tech teams have won a total of five times. Also pictured, tournament host Earl Tamiya (third from left) and the late Dennis Rose (back row center).