LAHAINA - He is a married dad of three daughters, a 23-year veteran detective with the Maui Police Department, and he has been coaching football at Lahainaluna High School for 29 years - the last decade as the Lunas' co-head coach and offensive coordinator.
For all of this, Garret Tihada is honored as the Lahaina News' Sportsman of the Year for 2016.
Most recently, Coach Garret helped guide the Luna football team to the school's first state championship as well as the program's tenth consecutive Maui Interscholastic League title and Hawaii High School Athletic Association playoff appearance.
But Lahainaluna insiders will be quick to tell you that the championship notoriety is fine, but the important belief in Tihada's view is that his players are good people.
Luna football has established a time-honored tradition of discipline and respect - not only on Maui but throughout the state - and the time and toil that Coach Garret has dedicated to the program resonates this regimen.
Said Lahainaluna co-head coach Bobby Watson, the dean of MIL coaches and the Lunas' mentor for over 35 years, "Garret is the face of the Luna football program. He is a great coach, but more importantly, he is a great person, a great leader and a great dad. He is an outstanding mentor for our players and an outstanding example for them to follow in life."
Indeed, there is no more important influence on our youths than the guidance that positive action heroes such as Garret Tihada provide as they cross over the swaying bridge that is adolescence to adulthood.
A dedicated dad, MPD detective and a championship mentor, he is the humble essence of the integrity of our community that grows exponentially as the torch of tradition at Lahainaluna is carried forward.
Throughout his tenure along the Luna sideline, he has gained a reputation as a calming presence for the student athletes. Yet, the highly respected demand for accountability and self-sacrifice within the program is always on the front burner.
Garret was coached in this way by his dad, Lanny Tihada, and now pays forward that spirit to his nephews in the program.
"I am so proud of the things he does and the way he always puts others before himself," added Coach Watson. "He is more than a friend to me; he is like a son. This award is well-deserved. Congratulations."
The Lahaina News Sportsman of the Year award includes a custom-made plaque created by Maui Marking Device along with TS Restaurants of California and Hawaii gift certificates for the Tihada family to enjoy at Kimo's, Leilani's on the Beach, Hula Grill, and Duke's Beach House here on Maui.