Matching gifts double the impact of the Coach Yagi Scholarship

University of Hawaiʻi
Margot Schrire, (808) 956-6774
Director of Communications, University of Hawaii Foundation
Posted: Mar 9, 2010

Left to right: Mrs. Jeanne Yagi; Coach Jimmy Yagi; and Rose Tseng, Chancellor, UH Hilo
Left to right: Mrs. Jeanne Yagi; Coach Jimmy Yagi; and Rose Tseng, Chancellor, UH Hilo
HILO – With the support of friends and colleagues throughout Hawai‘i and beyond, former University of Hawai‘i at Hilo basketball coach, Jimmy Yagi, and his wife Jeanne have established the Coach Jimmy Yagi Basketball Scholarship Fund to benefit high achieving student-athletes at UH Hilo. The Yagis' $20,000 lead gift combined with private gifts from friends and families were matched dollar-for-dollar as part of the UH Hilo Scholarship Matching Program, resulting in a total of $100,000 raised for scholarship support.
Due to the success of early fundraising efforts, the Yagis elected to establish the fund as a permanent endowment. “We were humbled by the outpouring of support and pleased to know that an endowed fund will ensure scholarships will continue to be awarded far into the future,” Yagi said. All incoming donations will be invested in the endowment from now on.
The purpose of the Coach Jimmy Yagi Basketball Scholarship is to enable UH Hilo to recruit basketball players who are high academic achievers as well as talented athletes. To qualify for this annual $7,500 award, candidates must meet a minimum 3.5 GPA.
“Sports can be such an important part of a student’s education, but working to achieve academic excellence is also critically important,” said Jimmy Yagi. “We believe Vulcan athletics can help bring new focus to academic excellence–and help to raise standards on campus at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo.”
Last year, the Yagis gave $25,000 to the UH Foundation to create another UH Hilo scholarship. Named in honor of Jimmy and Jeanne’s parents, the James S. and Kameko Yagi/Sadao and Bessie Y. Nishida Scholarship benefits Big Island high school graduates attending UH Hilo.
Jimmy Yagi is a native of Hilo and a 1957 alumnus of the Shidler College of Business at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. A scholar-athlete himself, Yagi played basketball for UH Mānoa and benefited from a scholarship which covered his tuition.
Yagi has been involved with UH Hilo for almost 50 years, including a legendary career (1973 -1985) as head coach for the UH Hilo basketball team. Coach Yagi and his wife Jeanne continue to make numerous contributions to support the Hilo sports community, displaying their knack for giving back. They are involved with many civic groups and serve as volunteers for numerous camps, youth sports clinics, conferences and training sessions each year.
“My involvement with UH Hilo has enriched my life and broadened my outlook. I want to honor the institution for its role in my life,” said Jimmy Yagi. “The university is the biggest economic engine on the Big Island, and it plays a critical role in our community. I feel privileged to have an opportunity to help it succeed.”
“Jimmy and Jeanne have both added so much to our university and our community. We are especially grateful for their passionate commitment towards achieving excellence–in academics, sports and in life,” said Rose Tseng, UH Hilo chancellor.
Coach Yagi invites everyone who has enjoyed or benefited from Vulcan basketball or the Vulcan Basketball Camp to join in support of this initiative.
Checks can be made payable to: UH Foundation/Coach Yagi Scholarship Endowment and sent to UHH Office of Development, 200 W. Kawili Street, Hilo, Hawai‘i 96720. Gifts can also be made online at:
UH Hilo is pleased to offer a first-ever series of matching gift opportunities that will greatly increase student scholarship support and help remove barriers to student access and success during these challenging times. For a limited time only, several scholarship matching packages are available, thanks to a very generous $1 million anonymous gift which enables donors to double the value of new scholarship contributions.
For more information please contact the UH Hilo Office of Development at (808) 933-1945.
The University of Hawai‘i at Hilo is a comprehensive university with five degree-granting colleges, six master’s programs and two doctoral programs. UH Hilo strives to integrate culture and science, offer hands-on learning opportunities to its students and use the Island of Hawai‘i as a natural learning laboratory. Enrollment has doubled since 1980 to nearly 4,000 students coming from all fifty states and more than 40 countries. Please visit
The University of Hawai‘i Foundation, a nonprofit organization, raises private funds to support the University of Hawai‘i System. Our mission is to unite our donors’ passions with the University of Hawai‘i's aspirations to benefit the people of Hawai‘i and beyond. We do this by raising private philanthropic support, managing private investments and nurturing donor and alumni relationships. Please visit www.uhf.