Alan Akina tells his side of the story concerning his suspension as coach of the Kahuku basketball team on a Facebook post from Jan. 1.
On Dec. 29, Hawaii Prep World learned of Akina’s suspension, which occurred apparently for alleged favoritism toward his two sons, Keanu Akina and Kawika Akina.
Hawaii Prep World realizes the Department of Education and the Kahuku administration may have had valid reasons for the suspension, so we would welcome and publish any statement from either the DOE or the Kahuku administration regarding this issue if they would like to send one.
Below is Akina’s verbatim Facebook message. (Editor’s note: Akina uses quotes from messages he received from Hawaii Pacific University men’s basketball assistant coach Jesse Nakanishi and Kaiser High head coach Brandon Kawazoe. Hawaii Prep World confirmed from both coaches that the quoted material is accurate.):
First, I want to thank all of you for the overwhelming positive support. All of the incredible kind words from so many of you in the community as well as the kids, school staff, coaches and many other people from other schools has convinced me that my path is not only the right one but also an important one. So thanks.
I’ve been patient and quiet on my coaching situation at Kahuku for a long time now, but I believe now is the time to share the real facts. But first I want to start out by expressing my love and concern for the young men on my team. Some of you I have had the privilege of coaching since you were in the 4th grade. It’s never a good thing when you are caught in the middle of an unfortunate emotional adult world that you may not understand. I am praying and wishing the best for each of you and I hope that you can learn some positive lessons that come from this situation.
Next let me address the legal action. Now I want to be clear, my intent at this point is not to sue anyone or the school for money or threats of any sort. But rather I obtained legal counsel to protect my two sons. The situation at the school involving just a couple of emotional parents, the principal and the athletic director undisputedly crossed the line. It was done so unethically and with such distain I felt the need to take off my “Coaching” hat and put on my “Daddy” hat and stand up for my kids and to make sure this kind of thing does not happen in the future to others.
Since last spring my son Kawika who at the time was only in the 8th grade was targeted and discriminated upon. I was told at that time that he would have to play on the JV team. This was 7 months before the actual tryouts, mind you. Kawika was unfoundedly denied the opportunity to play on the varsity basketball team at Kahuku High after clearly officially making the team at tryouts. The school has 15 spots for players but we only had 12 kids try out, so everyone made the team and NO cuts were made even regardless of them achieving the requirements. But for some reason that we still do not know of today, the principal and athletic director forced me to put him down on the JV team. Kawika was devastated, confused and wondering why he couldn’t play when he knew he earned a spot on the varsity team.
To make matters worse a few of the same parents involved in the discrimination of Kawika convinced some of the players to bring my other son Keanu into the mix by making false accusations that he has all of the plays run for him and thereby accusing me of favoritism.
Now I have my coaching staff track every shot taken for every game, we track both made and missed shots. I offered the admin to look over our shot charts along with shooting percentages to prove that Keanu clearly does not take the majority of the shots. In fact, many of Hawaii’s high school and college basketball coaches sent letters of support and vouching for Keanu’s playing ability and recognize him as one of the top players in the state.
Here is what Coach Jesse Nakanishi from Hawaii Pacific University said in his letter:
“I have watched Keanu for the last two years, and I have personally coached him during the last two summers at the Maui Sports Academy. Keanu is a standout, and one of the best basketball players in the state of Hawai’i. As the recruiting coordinator for the HPU men’s basketball program, I analyze the athletic capabilities of thousands of young men annually both here and on the mainland. I have no doubt that he will play at the next level, and he is Kahuku’s most valuable weapon.”
Coach Branden Kawazoe of Kaiser High School said this:
“If Keanu were playing within our program, there is no doubt that I would be illustrating plays to get him open shots and/or putting the ball in his hands to let him create opportunities for himself and his teammates. Keanu is as willing of a passer as he is a shooter/scorer. He often makes the correct play and is definitely a major asset to the Kahuku Basketball program.”
When I asked the principal if there were any complaints of physical or verbal abuse on my end or anything I had done wrong she clearly stated “No, the players think you’re a nice guy but they just feel like there is favoritism.”
I understand how people can perceive that there might be some sort of favoritism, but the facts and data show other wise. Favoritism in this case has actually been turned into the opposite, which is discrimination.
There are many unethical things that have happened that I will not discuss here because all I want to do is continue to coach and teach these young men that through basketball you can learn to set goals and that working hard toward those goals you can accomplish anything you set your mind to. I try to be the best example I can be for my players and I believe I do a great job by the way I live my life on the court, in business and at home.
I would like to thank all of you who reached out to my family and I over the past few days; your kind words and support are much appreciated. I also want to thank all of the high school coaches from across the state of Hawaii and on the mainland for offering your support and for expressing concern for the future of coaching in high school sports. I will continue to fight for you to the best of my ability to protect you and others that may want to coach in the future. You are role models that sacrifice a tremendous amount of time and money to build up our future generation through coaching.
Happy New Year Everyone and May God Bless you all!