BROOMFIELD — When he was hired to run the Holy Family baseball team in the fall of 2014, Eric Nakayama picked right up where former coach Marc Cowell left off. And when all was said and done, the Tigers' baseball program is still in as good a shape as it has been over the last decade.
Nakayama announced earlier in the week that he was stepping down as Holy Family's head coach after three seasons at the helm.
Sure the wins weren't there this season, but the growth of the Tigers program flourished under Nakayama, who will continue his work with the Archdiocese of Denver.
"They have me doing development for both Holy Family and Bishop Machebeuf and having meeting, I was missing practices, games and winter workouts," said Nakayama, who won a Class 3A title with the Tigers in his first season at the helm. "That's not what I want and I am trying to hold my kids accountable and be responsible.
"When I am missing things, that's not how I want to teach my kids how to play baseball or in life in general. You are going to take on responsibility, you need to be accountable, and I felt like a hypocrite doing it to my kids."
Nakayama was named the head coach shortly the Tigers won the 3A title in 2013 over Eaton. He helped coached them to their second straight title, again over the arch-rival Reds.
You might think that is the shining moment that stands out to Nakayama, who began his coaching career as a 21-year old at Regis University. But Nakayama said it's more about the people, then the wins and losses.
"I wanted to give back to a school that gave me so much as a student and an athlete," who was a three-sport star at Holy Family in the early 1990's. "I wanted to give back to what Mike Gabriel and all the coaches gave to me and they influenced me in a positive way.
"But the highlight is seeing all the Holy Family graduates through all the years become great men, fathers and successful. To me, that is the real highlight and watching the program blossom into what it is today."
Nakayama hasn't ruled out the chance to coach again, knowing the competitive juices will continue to flow.
Holy Family athletic director Ben Peterson has opened the position and has already started the process of finding the next coach. He asks that interested parties send their information to the school.