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Q & A with, head coach Geoff Hirai, Seattle University

05/11/2018, 7:00am PDT
By Tom Mauldin

Hirai is in his third season as the head coach of the Seattle.

A member on the coaching staff at three major conference schools over the past 10 years, in 2017 Hirai got Seattle within three outs of the program's first WAC Championship. 

Hirai guided Seattle to 20 wins on the year, including the first perfect game of the season in D and a 12-inning victory in the longest game in program history.  This season, the Red Hawks have 33 wins and recently defeated Oregon State, 2-1.

Hirai came to Seattle after four years with the Oregon State softball program, including the past three seasons as the associate head coach. Working mainly with the team’s hitters, he was instrumental in building Oregon State’s offense into one of the best in school history and most consistent in the nation.

In 2015, the Beavers combined for a .298 batting average, the best in school history. Oregon State also scored 300 runs, one shy of a school record, in route to a 26-26 season.

Hirai helped Oregon State to back-to-back 30-win seasons and berths into the NCAA Tournament in 2012 and 2013.

Prior to OSU, Hirai spent three seasons as an assistant coach at the University of Virginia, serving as the team’s hitting coach while also aiding in the program’s recruiting efforts.  During his time in Charlottesville, Virginia compiled an 83-75 record and advanced to the NCAA Tournament in 2010.

Hira also spent three seasons as an assistant coach at the University of Washington, with the Huskies advancing to the NCAA Tournament every year, including a berth in the 2007 Women’s College World Series. He helped four players collect five All-America honors.

Before coaching at Washington, Hirai was owner, instructor and coach of All-Star Dugout in Irvine, Calif. Hirai was a scout with Cincinnati Reds from 2001-03.

Hirai, who was a four-year baseball letter winner at Hawaii-Hilo, earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in history in 1998 and served as the team’s assistant coach for three seasons.

Hirai and his wife, Tracy, have a son, Gavin, and a daughter, Jordyn.

Q – What are your most successful practice drills (hitting, fielding, baserunning, pitching -- indoor or out)? Can you explain it and tell us what the benefit is?
A - All the drills that we do here at Seattle U is done with purpose and to be done at game speed.  We might not start all the drills at game-speed, but we will break down to get them to go at game speed.

Q – What information do you want from potential recruits.
A - Get all the information you can get and make a sound decision. 

Q – What advice would you give a young player, say 13 or 14, who dreams of playing college softball?
A – If you have a goal then work your tail off and do not let anyone tell you can't do it.  There is a place for you to play if you want to work hard enough.

Q – What is your most memorable softball/baseball experience (coaching or playing)?
A - being a part of the coaching staff that took University of Virginia to their first ever post season bid.

 Q – When you are recruiting, what attributes in a player are you seeking?
A - You are looking for someone that stands out, if it is arm strength, power, speed, defense, or just swag.  

Q – If you weren't a softball coach, what would you be doing?
A - Probably a school teacher or coaching another sport.

Q – And, finally, what is it about softball you love?
A - The speed of the game and how this game has grown in the 13 years I have been coaching softball.

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