Old Ned

Arizona Historymakers™

Arizona Historical Society

William "Bill" Masao Kajikawa

1912 - 2010

Honored as Historymaker 1993

ASU Acclaimed Educator and Coach

Oral History Transcript:

Video by Pam Stevenson, Agave Productions, for Historical League

Willliam Kajikwa, known to hundreds of former students and friends as “Bill,” has received many forms of recognition for his more than 50 years of service to his community, his alma mater and his country. One of his most recent, an honorary Doctor of Law degree from Arizona State University, recognized the “skill, dedication and integrity which made him an outstanding role model for student-athletes, coaches and faculty members” as well as his contribution as an “active, caring, and devoted citizen.” In 1987, this distinguished alumnus celebrated the 50th anniversary of his graduation from ASU.

Bill graduated from Phoenix Union High School in 1933 and received his bachelor’s degree from ASU in 1937. Following his graduation, Bill Kajikawa joined the faculty as an assistant professor in education and coaching, with time out only for military service in World War II. He then returned to the staff at ASU where he received his master’s degree in 1948.

In the early days, Bill Kajikawa was head coach for ASU’s early baseball programs and also head basketball coach. He was the only Japanese American head coach in major sports in any American college. In 1954, Mr. Kajikawa was voted Border Conference Basketball Coach of the Year. Until his retirement in 1978, he was intercollegiate coach under nine head coaches – from “Bulldog” to “Sun Devil” days! He was selected for the ASU Hall of Distinction as the Arizona State University All-Around Coach.

In World War II, Bill served with distinction in the U.S. Army’s noted 442nd Regimental Combat Team. This was the Army’s most decorated unit, which was comprised entirely of Japanese Americans.

Named as an outstanding alumnus of his alma mater, Bill Kajikawa has devoted countless hours to community service. Still active in the community, his efforts range from coaching American Legion baseball teams, preparing VISTA volunteers for their future assignments, to serving on numerous sports-related local and state committees. The American Legion chose William Kajikawa for its Americanism Award for service to young people. For dedication to aiding people of the community, the Tri-City Catholic Social Service honored Bill and his wife Margaret with the Dorothy Mitchell Humanitarian Award. The Tempe Community Council has also recognized the Kajikawas' dedication with its Don Carlos Award.

Bill and Margaret have two daughters, both involved in education. Carol O’Connell is an educator in California, while Christine Wilkinson, ASU Vice President of Student Affairs, carries on Bill’s loyalty.


Historymaker Bill Kajikawa biography published in 1993
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