BYU-Hawaii coach named to hall of fame

Wilfred Navalta, BYU-Hawaii women's volleyball coach, is a man with many titles. He is known as husband, father, doctor, bishop, teacher, friend and, of course, coach. On Wednesday, Nov. 29, at the NAIA annual banquet in Chattanooga, Tenn., he added another title to the list - member, NAIA Hall of Fame.

Quite an honor for a man who is still an active coach, and at the pinnacle of his profession.Coach Navalta took over as head coach of the up-and-coming BYU-Hawaii volleyball program in 1985 and immediately led the Seasiders to a ninth-place finish at the NAIA National Tournament. The following season the Seasiders won it all. Then the following year, to prove the first time wasn't just a Cinderella story, they won the national championship again.

From there, Coach Navalta has never looked back. In 10 seasons, he has guided BYU-Hawaii to seven conference titles, eight NAIA tournament appearances and five national titles. He has coached 22 NAIA all-Americans, been named national coach of the year five times - including this year, and compiled an amazing 225-57 record. His NAIA tournament record of 49-6 (.891) is the best in the association's history.

In his induction speech, he expressed thanks to all of his former players, coaches, trainers and statisticians for making the honor possible.

He said, "All my success comes from the wonderful players and teams I've had the opportunity to be associated with. But the key person is the Lord - He makes all this possible." Then, instead of finishing a prepared speech, he thanked his wife, calling her "the most important person in my life and career." He then asked his team to sing the Hawaiian song "Kanaka Waiwai" as his closing remarks.

Raised on the Big Island of Hawaii, Coach Navalta enrolled at BYU-Hawaii in 1963 on a basketball scholarship. He played basketball and volleyball for three seasons before transferring to BYU where he finished his undergraduate and master's degrees. After coaching and teaching high school in Arizona for three years, he returned to Provo where he received his doctorate in 1978.

Coach Navalta is married to the former Tauna Hall of Hurricane, Utah. They are the parents of six children. He is currently bishop of the BYU-Hawaii 4th Ward, a calling he has held for the past three years.

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