Viela joins KS Maui as new athletic director


Photo by Kimani Fernandez-Roy

Coach Jon Viela is the new Athletic Director at Kamehameha Schools Maui.

Coach Jon Viela, a man with a long history in Maui athletics, college ties to Kamehameha Schools and who puts family values first, is the new athletic director at Kamehameha Maui.

“We are fortunate to have these students [of] Hawaiian ancestry…[who] believe in God,” he said. “That’s what excites me about being here at Kamehameha.”

The health and safety of the student-athletes is the most important thing, but he would also like to create opportunities for them to be successful.

Coach Viela expects to work his way into his new position smoothly, without making any drastic changes.

“Changes will be small for now. The athletic department was not broken. The way I look at it, if something’s not broken, there’s no need to change it,” he said.

The former Baldwin High School assistant athletic director, shared more about his background and approach to his new position at a press conference in Journalism class, Wednesday, August 10.

Coach Viela is the youngest of three and grew up in a “family life that was very sports-oriented.” In 1987, he graduated from Baldwin High School and was later offered a full scholarship to play baseball at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa.

To cover his day-to-day expenses, he used a Nā Hoʻokama scholarship from Kamehameha Schools.

At UH Mānoa, Viela said, one of his highlights was being selected as his teamʻs most valuable player in his junior year and being one game away from winning the college world series. In fact, he is proud of the fact that in all of his experience in scholastic baseball, he was also part of winning state titles as a player, assistant coach, and head coach.

Due to his passion for sports, Coach Viela became a physical education and health teacher at Baldwin, as well as being a baseball coach who led the Bears to victory at the state tournament last year.

Coach Jon Viela, the new athletic director, settles into his office in the athletics department. He brings with him a desire to instill a the value of pono in Warrior student-athletes.
Photo by Riann Fujihara
Coach Jon Viela, the new athletic director, settles into his office in the athletics department. He brings with him a desire to instill a the value of pono in Warrior student-athletes.

After the many years spent at Baldwin High School, Coach Viela said he is excited to now be a part of Kamehameha’s staff.

“I think our athletic department can strive, and I think that we can be very, very successful here with knowing the dynamics of the school and the dynamics of our student-athletes,” he said.

In his spare time, his favorite thing to do is spend time with his family. He also enjoys golfing, stand-up paddling, and going to the beach, but Coach Viela is probably most known for his active involvement in the community through the All Pono Sports Organization, which he manages with his family, in honor of his son, Jrew Kūpono “Pono,” who passed away in 2004 in an accident.

Through about 150 volunteers, this athletic club supports sports such as baseball, softball, soccer, and basketball. They also sponsor clinics and hold a fundraising fun run, and Coach Viela’s daughter, Jrae (’16), also awarded three $1,000 scholarships through the organization as part of her senior project.

Coach Viela’s family, in fact, is a large part of who he is, and together, they help him to stay true to himself and to others.

“I believe in the motto of ‘Pono, doing what is right,’ you know, and that is something that we firmly believe in, my family and I,” he said.

Coach Viela hopes to develop that mentality in KSM athletics.

In a follow-up interview, he said,”My expectations for our student-athletes are to be competitive but at the same time to carry out the necessary values such as sportsmanship, respect, pride, compassion, and dignity.”

Coach Viela is looking forward to meeting the entire athletic staff as the sports seasons progress, and he said that he would want them to know that he has “an open-door policy. I would like to be a person that people know that they can communicate with me, and I will communicate back,” he said.