Athletics is an integral part of the academic experience at Punahou School. With over 120 teams competing in 21 different sports at intermediate, junior varsity and varsity levels, there is tremendous opportunity for participation. Sixty-two percent of the student body in grades 7 – 12 participate annually in athletics.
Sports Illustrated ranked Punahou's athletics program No. 1 in the nation in both 2008 and 2009, and remained highly ranked in 2010 as the No. 2 program nationally.
Competitive athletics begins in grade 7, with an emphasis on being a part of a team.
Punahou's general philosophy for athletics affirms the development of the cultural, intellectual and physical potential of each student. It encourages student athletes to be the best that they can be and to be a true team player with the idea teamwork is what defines winning. Coaches constantly attempt to diffuse the "win at all costs" attitude that is so prevalent in high school athletics.
Intermediate teams are selected with the goal of having balance among the teams and focuses on developing fundamentals and encouraging participation. At the junior varsity level, the goal is to continue to balance teams, but in combinations that will foster growth and development toward the varsity level. At the varsity level, there is a stronger goal of competition, but within the context of good sportsmanship and honesty. Winning is not the ultimate yardstick at Punahou, but rather growth through athletics.