Aiea head coach Say ready to start 25th season

Wendell Say is the current longest-serving OIA high school football head coach. Cindy Ellen Russell / Honolulu Star-Advertiser.
Wendell Say is the current longest-serving OIA high school football head coach. Cindy Ellen Russell / Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

Wendell Say will start his 25th season as Aiea’s head football coach on Friday as Na Alii visits Nanakuli (0-1).

It’s been a long ride at Aiea for Say, who began with the school as an assistant in 1980. He was two years out of Linfield College, where he played football, when his friend, Marco Min, told him there was a job opening on Na Alii staff.

I interviewed with Ray Higa, the head coach at the time, and he hired me,” Say said Monday.

Say is back at practice after missing a week and a half with two medical problems that required a total of five days of hospitalization.

An intestinal problem lasted four days and Say said he was fortunate that the problem got better without surgery. He went back to the hospital for a day with muscle spasms, but now he said he’s feeling fine and he’s doing physical therapy.

Na Alii scrimmaged at home against Kailua on Friday.

“It was kind of sloppy on both sides,” Say, 60, said. “Kailua scored two times. They’re big. It’s a good thing it was a scrimmage. Now it’s all about getting the kids up to par. I’m excited about the team. I feel bad I was out. My assistants did a great job, and the kids were all happy to see me come back. I miss them. They’re the ones who keep me young. “(I’ve learned) you’ve got to take care of yourself. My mind thinks I’m young. The body is a little behind.”

Say, who led Aiea to the first Division II state championship in 2003, is trying to improve on Na Alii’s 1-7 record from 2015. This is his 37th season overall with the program.


  1. anywaaaays!! August 8, 2016 12:57 pm

    So much talent in Aiea and Halawa but those elite kids are seeking other schools to play at. My personal humble opinion is that they need new fresh blood at Head Coach, someone that has college and or NFL experience because the young kids now a days along with their parents are seeking guru’s not gpa’s to coach their kids.

  2. Chloropicrin August 8, 2016 8:56 pm

    The Riley Wallace of HS football

  3. bumbuchas August 8, 2016 9:37 pm

    Aiea has 2 outstanding Coordinators with great FB minds in Mika Liilii and Al Viloria. With age comes experience, discipline. College/NFL background got nothing to do as an indicator of success. Too many of their Aiea natives are catching the bus to Mililani to be Trojans. the D1 conference is tough!

  4. Outlaw Jose-y August 10, 2016 12:42 am

    Coach Say has a D-2 Championship! He does a lot with the kids and community. He is a great person and coach!

  5. Aku Bird August 14, 2016 3:43 pm

    This guy coach Say is a class act. Halawa/Makalapa kids transfering to Mililani, Kaiser, Kapolei, Radford & He still chooses to stay in DI. even if they not as talented. I agree it is time for a new direction..

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