2017 Top Stories: Coaching gets more complicated

Mid-Pacific head coach Sherice Ajifu raiseed the state championship trophy with her team after beating Kamehameha-Hawaii for the Division II state title in 2017. By the end of the year, she was no longer head coach. Photo by Jamm Aquino/Star-Advertiser.

In Tuesday’s Honolulu Star-Advertiser, Paul Honda wrote about the top 10 prep stories of 2017. You can read it here.

Here’s a deeper look at one of the 10 stories.


8. Coaching gets more complicated

There were notable, longtime football coaches who were released from their duties in 2017.

Amosa Amosa was let go by Campbell, quickly scooped up as an assistant coach by Kapolei. Nelson Maeda, who spent more than two decades at the helm at Castle, is now an assistant at Aiea.

But the conflicts endured by football coach Arnold Martinez at Kaiser, and girls basketball coaches at Roosevelt and Mid-Pacific during this current season might be a sign of the times.

Martinez’s program faced low numbers when he took over, and after a few forfeitures due to injuries and low turnout, things came to a head when a parent allegedly took a swing at the coach during a heated discussion. Martinez later resigned from the position.

Roosevelt coach Chad Kaihe was injured by a parent in the parking lot after a tournament game at Sacred Hearts, according to a tourney official. He was taken to a hospital and within days, resigned from his position.


The job has been filled temporarily by former boys coach John Chung, the school’s athletic director.

At Mid-Pacific, Sherice Ajifu resigned after what she felt was a change of heart by school administrators when they did not support her disciplinary action meted out on a player. Rather than go along with administration’s support of the player, Ajifu and her staff stepped down. In a matter of a few days, the defending D-II state champions were without their coaches.

Makoa Freitas, who had a successful first year as head football coach at Kahuku, tries to be open-minded about communication with parents.

“I want to listen to what the parent is trying to say and do what I can to address their concerns. Also, I try to see it from the parent’s perspective. They only want what’s best for their kids,” he said.

In the case of a coach-parent disagreement, though, it still comes down to support.


“At some point, the administration will have to get involved and back up the coach,” Freitas said. “It has to be a team effort with administration, otherwise it won’t work.”

Kahuku has opened up its football coaching staff despite Freitas finishing 11-2 with both losses coming to teams ranked in the top 20 in the country.

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