When he’s not performing his duties as media research analyst within the Kamehameha Schools communications group, Thomas Yoshida can often be found spending much of his free time fulfilling a passion for athletics as a veteran high school basketball official, statistician and a volunteer with the Hawai‘i High School Athletic Association (HHSAA).
His efforts on and off the court are being recognized as Yoshida is one of 12 leaders from across the country selected to receive the 2020 National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Citation Award. NFHS Citations are presented to individuals associated with categories of professionals who have made significant contributions to the NFHS and/or other national organizations that have impacted high school activities.
“To be one of 12 honored for this prestigious award is mind blowing,” Yoshida said. “All of the honorees as well as Hawai‘i’s previous recipients were executive directors. Being the first who was not an executive is very humbling for me.”
Yoshida has been officiating prep basketball for 37 years and is the current president of the Hawai‘i State Basketball Officials Association. Over his career, he has officiated 31 league championship games, 12 HHSAA state championship games and served a stint on the NFHS basketball rules committee in 2006. Additionally, he is a founding board member and vice president of the Hawai‘i Sports Officials Hall of Fame – an organization established in 2017 to promote positive public awareness of officials and their value to sports.
“Being an official has always been about making a contribution to basketball,” Yoshida said. “These days, the role of an official has become more important in regard to safety and sportsmanship. I’m proud to be a role model not only for officials but for the student-athletes as well.”
When not working at KS or officiating, Yoshida is also well known in the Hawai‘i sports community as a master statistician and record keeper, and is credited with working with numerous individuals to compile the HHSAA basketball and football record books dating back to 1957. His statistical mastery is counted on for many high-profile sports television broadcasts, and his behind-the-scenes role is often spotlighted by on-air talent.
“I started my role as a statistician under legendary Leilehua High School coach Hugh Yoshida in 1979. I’ve been fortunate to learn from the best statisticians and sports reporters through the years,” Yoshida said. “Creating and maintaining the HHSAA football and basketball record books has been a labor of love and it’s my way of preserving the history that tells many great stories of the athletes, coaches and schools.”
Yoshida joins a short list of four other citation award winners from Hawai‘i: retired OIA and HHSAA Executive Director Dwight Toyama (2015); former HHSAA Executive Director Keith Amemiya (2010); retired HHSAA Executive Director Edward Kiyuna (2005); and retired ILH Executive Director Don Botelho (2000).
The award will be presented to Yoshida on June 30 at the 101st Annual NFHS Summer Meeting in Denver, Colorado.