APRIL 18, 2003: Joe Onosai tackles coaching

On this day in 2003, former UH football star Joe Onosai agreed to coach his alma mater.

Onosai took the reigns for Pac-Five, taking over for Don Botelho. He lasted only one season, and is still one of only two coaches to lead the program not named Botelho. Leon Schumacher was the coach in the program’s first year in 1973.

Kip Botelho took over for Onosai after a 2-6-1 season. Onosai got results immediately, starting 2-0 with victories over Kaimuki and Schurr of California. Things got more difficult when the ILH season began, though, but Onosai’s troops did manage to tie Iolani in the fourth game of the league slate.

He resigned in March the following year to clear the way for Kip Botelho, but remained involved with the program as Word of Life’s strength coach. Five years later, he coached Word of Life’s foray into varsity football and led the Firebrands to a win over Nanakuli in their debut but went 1-17 the rest of the way. The school closed in 2010.


  1. Hmmm? April 18, 2020 7:16 pm

    Why did Onosai step down after only one year?

  2. Jerry Campany April 18, 2020 7:51 pm

    To devote more time to his ministry. The AD said he was surprised, since Onosai seemed to have something built.

  3. Matt Motter April 19, 2020 2:30 am

    My favorite memory of him is participating in the 1996 Olympics IIRC.

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