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Narimatsu’s Leadership Lessons Through Sport

By: Nancy Arcayna

Jon Narimatsu is teaching students to hit the mark! Through the sport of air riflery, he’s able to share life lessons that help them succeed in both school and life. As Head Coach and Program Manager of Mid-Pacific Sporter and Precision Air Riflery, Narimatsu teaches and expects his athletes to exhibit the characteristics that will help them in the sport and in life, including patience, focus, emotional control, persistence, flexibility, responsibility, teamwork, initiative, and drive. With more than 20 students who have participated in his program receiving scholarships, Narimatsu is instilling leadership qualities in these students that will propel them to become the leaders of tomorrow. “I show them how these skills apply to real life, using college, work and family scenarios,” says Coach Narimatsu. “If they master these skills now, they’ll be better at handling real life challenges in the future. In general, students who can adapt to challenging situations in sports can better adapt to challenging real life situations.”

Precision air riflery is modeled after Olympic-style shooting and uses specialized target rifles and equipment. Sporter air riflery is designed as an introduction to the sport for new competitors. Narimatsu has been the head coach and program manager for sporter and precision air riflery since 2013. During this time, about 200 student athletes have participated in the program. His first year as coach, the boys won Mid-Pacific’s first state championship in sporter air riflery.

Over the years, he has achieved a remarkable record, including 10 ILH Sporter Championships, six State Sporter Championships, seven State Runners-Up titles, 12-time ILH Coach of the Year, 40 ILH Sporter All Stars, and six ILH Sporter Shooter of the Year awards for season’s individual standings.

Celebrating HHSAA Sporter Air Riflery success: Karch Cho-Tupua ’25, secured the Boys State Champion title, and Ereyn Iwamoto ’24 claimed 3rd place in the Girls championship.

Prior to coaching air riflery at Mid-Pacific, Narimatsu served 21 years on active duty in the Army and retired a lieutenant colonel in 2011. As a way to spend more time with his son Jay ’16 he volunteered to help coach his sporter team at Mid-Pacific. In 2012, he became an assistant coach, his first ever sports coaching job, and he hasn’t looked back.

Narimatsu defines success in air riflery as doing one’s absolute best, to follow the proper procedures, to make the necessary corrections to the feedback given until there is nothing more one could do, physically or mentally, even if the result wasn’t desired. He notes that this is success because if you keep doing this, you will eventually get the result you want. These are among the real life ideals that Narimatsu regularly shares with his student athletes. 

“As a coach, I’m not just their athletic guide, I also try to guide them through school, family and any other life issues. I really push them to do well in their classes and try to get them to be honest with themselves about their goals and expectations,” Narimatsu says. “Although I teach them to be realistic, I push them to test those limits so their attempts don’t fall short of what they’re capable of. If they get an opportunity to better themselves academically, that takes priority over sports.”