Castle’s Hao tries to smooth Rocky transition

Castle football coach John Hao is now the baseball coach, too. Jamm Aquino / Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

Going in to Friday’s Kailua vs. Castle baseball game, we heard reports there would be a new head coach in Castle’s home dugout. We just didn’t know who it would be.

Maybe the reports of a transition were overblown. Maybe it would still be Rocky Fraticelli, the Knights’ coach on the diamond since 2012.

Sure enough, though, Fraticelli was not in the dugout. But who was that in there, wearing his maroon cap and sunglasses?

After No. 6 Kailua’s 11-0 victory over Castle, the Knights gathered at third base for a meeting. Despite the loss, the players appeared upbeat and they all went up to shake all of the coaches’ hands when the meeting was done.

Who would the coach be that emerged from that group to answer postgame questions?

Lo and behold, it was John Hao, the football coach, who peeled off his sunglasses and cap like it was a mask revealing the identity of Batman.

It’s the ultimate pinch hit. Fraticelli resigned March 2 and athletic director Laynie Sueyasu needed somebody quick. The Knights were about to start the season the next day. She asked around and Hao took the bait. He played baseball for Saint Louis in high school and he is an assistant for his son’s youth team. A natural fit.

“Pitcher, first baseman, outfield,” said Hao, when asked where he played in high school.

Is he enjoying the sunshine out on the ballfield instead of being in the weight room with his football players?

“I love baseball,” he said before dropping a joke: “And I’m enjoying it so much, I was thinking that maybe I could see if I could resign football and coach baseball.”

So far, he is 0-2. The Knights also have one victory, which occurred one day after Fraticelli officially resigned but agreed to stay on for that one game — 4-2 over Roosevelt on March 3.

“We’re getting a feel for this team,” Hao said. “We’re seeing who is who and what everyone can do. Kailua hit the ball really well today.”

The Knights did not play poorly (zero errors, but only one hit) and only made one mental mistake — Cade Rapozo got thrown out at home trying to score after a triple and overthrow.

Kailua’s Jalen Ah Yat tagged out Castle’s Cade Rapozo at the plate during Friday’s game at the Knights’ home field. Rapozo tripled to right, but tried to go home on an overthrow. Pitcher Ryan Inouye (not pictured) made the throw while backing up third base. Dennis Oda / Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

Castle pitchers Jabe Kahawaii and Fabian Silva-Pokipala threw strikes. It just so happened the strikes were too good for Kailua’s veteran lineup. Kalua Neves homered into the parking lot in right field and he also tripled. Jalen Ah Yat cranked a two-run double and finished with three RBIs and Matthew Kaleiohi drove in three runs.

And while Hao can smile about his recent fortune that brings him to the diamond, Fraticelli is looking for answers and is far from happy about what transpired.

Fraticelli’s brother, volunteer assistant Duane Fraticelli, was relieved of his duties Feb. 27 by the Castle administration, according to Rocky Fraticelli, who said no reason was given that day or at a meeting three days later.

Due to the fact that he has been an assistant athletic director at Castle for 25 years, Fraticelli feels he deserves to know the reason why.

Hawaii Prep World was unable to contact Castle AD Layne Sueyasu after Friday’s game.

Rocky Fraticelli said that the administration told him that several parents of players called to complain about Duane Fraticelli. The administration, according to Rocky Fraticelli, generally brought up comments that Duane Fraticelli made about a certain mainland baseball showcase.

“They said something about inappropriate communication to players,” Rocky Fraticelli said. “He may have told a player that a certain baseball showcase might not be worth the player’s money.”

Rocky Fraticelli said that it is common knowledge that some baseball showcases are much better (with high level scouts) than others.

“I was told he shouldn’t be making those remarks to players,” Rocky Fraticelli said. “I believe he (Duane) was telling the player to do research on that showcase before making a decision. It (the reason for letting Duane Fraticelli go) may have been because of the showcase comment. There has been calls made to the principal (Bernadette Tyrell) and to the district office from parents. I don’t know what those calls were about. I heard the district office kicked it back to the principal to handle it. The principal and the athletic director talked about and decided to release him. That was on a Tuesday. We had a bye the next day and I was able to set up a meeting with the principal and athletic director on Thursday. It was about a 10-minute meeting. Their decision did not change. I’m trying to do research and find out what the DOE policy is. I went to the Board of Education. They referred me to the DOE and the DOE referred me to OIA exeuctive director Ray Fujino. I left a message with him.

“I don’t know what to say,” he added. “I’ve been a coach for 33 years, 31 as a head coach and 25 years as an assistant athletic director. I gave my resignation letter Friday (March 2) morning. I’m a Castle person. But this, I couldn’t stomach it.”

Fraticelli was a Kailua assistant baseball coach under Alex Kane in 1981, and then he was the Kalaheo girls basketball coach in 1982. He coached Castle girls basketball in 1988-89 and took over the Knights boys basketball team in 1989-90 and stayed in that post until 2009. In 2012, he took over the baseball team.

Fraticelli was asked if there had been any problems in the past with his brother Duane as an assistant.

“About four years ago, there were some issues about both me and my brother and it went to the district office and it was handled,” Rocky Fraticelli said. “They found no evidence of what we were accused of. Nothing was found.”

Rocky Fraticelli did not specify the reasons for that district office investigation, but he said it stemmed from complaints by parents of players and it had more or less to do with coaching style.

“After that, they asked for my brother to stay away for a few years and he did,” Fraticelli said. “Then this June, I was asked (by the administration) what I needed. I said that I was missing my brother. He is a certified national pitching coach. The principal interviewed Duane and noticed that he is straightforward and the principal liked that. He was allowed to come back to coach.

“We went through the JV season without issues and we were going into the varsity season. I actually think it’s that parents were trying to get me out and were doing it by targeting my brother.”

COMMENTS

  1. Real Deal March 10, 2018 7:17 am

    Good Luck Coach Rocky getting a response from the D.O.E. or the O.I.A., they are terrible. Time to move on and look for better Horizons. When is the Admin. going to back up their Coaches?


  2. Last Samurai March 10, 2018 11:11 am

    Keiki, you sound like one of them disgruntled, always complaining parents. have some BALLS and call him or see him in person at the school to say your piece. Don’t hide and try tarnish one guys reputation by printing gossip online. Say it to his face! If his explanation is not the truth why would he say knowing it’s going to be in the media for all to see? You sound just as bad as that Principal and AD at that school.


  3. Last Samurai March 10, 2018 11:22 am

    Nice article Nick, Good Luck Coach Fraticelli and to your brother too, as both of you move on to much greener pastures. Mahalo to you, Coach Okimoto and all the other Coaches like yourselves who sacrifice much of your personal/family life to provide guidance/structure to our misguided youth for all those years of coaching for basically free. Them parents complain as they watch from the stands clueless as to what goes on. Let them trade shoes with you coaches and see if they willing to make the same sacrifices. Good Luck as you move on Coach.


  4. Smiling March 10, 2018 11:39 am

    Shame on those complaining, disgruntled parents. Your lives must be so unhappy!!!!!!


  5. Smiling March 10, 2018 11:53 am

    Shame on those complaining, disgruntled parents. Your lives must be so unhappy.


  6. Interested Fan March 10, 2018 4:06 pm

    @ Protecting our Keiki & Castle Parent, may I ask why you choose to complain behind a psuedonym?


  7. Last Samurai March 10, 2018 5:06 pm

    Little Keiki, Fired? Really? Made some calls to people privy to the situation, ahhh No, he resigned, wasn’t fired. Again, you shouldn’t tarnish one’s reputation, Nick should ban people like you who spread lies and slander another. Don’t speak for all, speak for yourself. If you had issues with Coach, that’s you and not all since 2012. Hey, you and the rest of the disgruntled parents got what you wish for. All of you can apply for this position next year. Apply what you see from the stands and make it work on the field and in the classroom. Build them better then what all of you have become. Better watch what you wish for, the last 2 games Castle got blown out despite having some talent. You can take your complaints to the Interim Coach now. Let em know you’re interested in helping out coaching. I feel for the Castle Players, caught up between a parent struggle ands what seems to be an inept Administration. Since you Little keiki have no integrity in trying to spread a lie and slander one, I’m moving on from this. I got better things to do. I’ll let you and Castle Parent run a dialogue with John Hao. Thanks again Nick, for a nice write up on the situation.


  8. Rebel March 10, 2018 6:01 pm

    Protecting our keiki, so you still didnt respond…..what’s the truth????? You’re disqualified, no integrity.


  9. triple_a98 March 10, 2018 6:57 pm

    SMH…..There went Castles baseball season. Shame for the complaining parents and too bad for the seniors. Thank you coach Hao for stepping up to the plate.


  10. Interested Fan March 10, 2018 8:20 pm

    @protecting our keiki, maybe you might. But right now, you are just hiding behind a fake name. In the real world that means no credibility.

    It’s a little disheartening for people to have to attack people behind fake names on a blog.

    If you are unhappy, there are online petitions where you put your real name. You can contact the AD, Principal, or others in power.

    Since the coach is not there, it seems the issue with you is done since he’s not coaching and removed himself from the situation.

    So since the problem is over and he isn’t the coach, why do you feel the need to come on a blog, hide behind a fake name, and try to tarnish his reputation?

    The guy is no longer the coach. Doesn’t that mean the problem is done since he isn’t coaching the team anymore?


  11. roughriders99 March 10, 2018 8:20 pm

    Hawaii High School coaches should form a Union, that will back up the coaches rather than the administration


  12. Castle Alumni March 10, 2018 8:53 pm

    SHAME, SHAME, on all those complaining parents!!


  13. Just Saying March 10, 2018 9:01 pm

    For those looking for clarification, the assistant coach who was relieved on Feb. 27 is not a certified pitching coach. That IS a fact. As far as the rumors surrounding the program…it is sad for the players who are on the team and those who decided not to play because of the coaches themselves. Today’s society is making it difficult to be a coach (with no compensation). Can coaches coach like the “old days”? Definitely not…and good or bad, all those involved must adapt; players, coaches, administration, and parents. In tough situations, we must teach the youth that there is no reset button in life…we must make the best of what we got and be resilient individuals of society.


  14. Justmy2cents March 10, 2018 9:35 pm

    Times have changed in high school athletics. 10 years ago when I played getting yelled at and called out was just part of taking responsibility and getting better. Whatever happen to be mentally tough. I have gone back to coach my alma mater after playing college and times have changed. Coaching today is like walking on egg shells. SMH. We might as well give everyone a trophy for just putting on a jersey.

    Looking back at all. I wouldn’t change anything about the way I was coached. Made me better on and off the field.


  15. Rebel March 11, 2018 6:02 am

    Before you accuse, know the facts, coaches usually buy equipment with their own money…As for missing money, is it from 501c? Coach Rocky is a longtime Educator, he should know the rules. AD’s are the ones who you got to worry about when it comes to money.


  16. Observing March 11, 2018 12:07 pm

    AD has no back bone; Principal should be removed!!!! Get rid of both!!!!


  17. Hallelujah March 11, 2018 1:57 pm

    Sometimes FRESH eyes is what it takes for improvement, Castle’s baseball program has deteriorated over the years due to lack of respect for those coaches because of their disrespect to the players. Respect can’t be demanded these days. It’s earned…..coaching 101.

    Coach John Hao can start with a clean slate, getting to know the players and developing them POSITIVELY.

    Go Knights!!


  18. Real Deal March 11, 2018 2:12 pm

    Principal going explode soon!!!


  19. Billy Hull March 11, 2018 2:28 pm

    Comments are closed. Getting too crazy in here.


  20. Billy Hull March 11, 2018 2:46 pm

    NOW comments are closed…i think.


Comments are closed.