Les Murakami
Les Murakami
Organization: University of Hawaii
Year: 1981

Hawaii's Les Murakami was the recipient of the 1981 ABCA/Wilson Lefty Gomez Award.

Murakami, who was inducted into the ABCA Hall of Fame in 2000) coached the University of Hawaii baseball team for 30 years (1971-2000), taking the program from obscurity to the College World Series. Murakami amassed 1,079 wins while taking the team to 10 NCAA regionals and one World Series in 1980, when the Rainbows were just one win short of a national title. His Rainbows also fared well in conference play, winning six WAC titles.

But Murakami meant a lot more than just the wins and losses. He was also the man responsible for erecting the baseball stadium that now bears his name. Murakami was a two-time WAC Coach of the Year and NCAA District Coach of the Year in 1986. The legendary coach sent 74 players to professional baseball, while 10 were able to make it to the Major Leagues.

Murakami was named Hawaii Sportsman of the Year in 1977 and 1980, and in January of 2001, he was inducted into the Hawaii Circle of Honor.

Named after the great Lefty Gomez, this annual award is presented to an individual who has distinguished himself among his peers and has contributed significantly to the game of baseball locally, nationally and internationally. The Lefty Gomez Award is sponsored by Wilson Sporting Goods.