Clearing the notebook (and other stuff)

Once in a while, a reporter will come across a pretty good idea that doesn’t find its way into the newspaper or the web.

Such was the case during the whirlwind ending of the fall sports season. Yes, it’s true, we are well into the winter season now, and so, yes, this is old hat.

But worth writing about, if only in one person’s opinion.

OK, while on assignment on Kauai and in a conversation with former Waimea coach and longtime Menehunes booster Tommy Rita, he brought up something that most people aren’t aware of.

He mentioned something that happened on Nov. 17, 1983. I had heard bits and pieces of the story before, having covered Kauai Interscholastic Federation sports throughout the 1990s.

Now, this piece of information is small potatoes for folks living on Oahu, but for the good people of Kauai, it’s huge. It was the night Waimea defeated Waianae 16-14 in football at Aloha Stadium. Rita, by the way, was the Menehunes’ head coach at the time.

Sure nuff, the upset is even in the Hawaii Prep World archives, under Waianae’s season log from ’83.

Rita had a twinkle in his eye when he said, “That’s the only time a Kauai team has won a football game at Aloha Stadium.”

And, once again, Hawaii Prep World bears that out.

That loss ended the Seariders’ season at 7-4-1. Later that year, Saint Louis beat Nanakuli 15-12 in the Oahu Prep Bowl, the first of many championships in the Crusaders’ dynasty. Earlier in the season, Nanakuli got past Waianae 17-14.

Some day, we may have time to plumb the depths of the Waimea upset story a little deeper. Rita probably has a ton of memories from that game. I remember hearing in the 1990s that Robin Chinen was the Waimea quarterback.

Among the Waianae players in 1983, according to the Hawaii Prep World archives, were Yano Morris, Stanley Morris, Siope Laupola, Pablo Pagaduan, Clinton Saragosa, Jerry Jona, Roddy Miguel, Robbie Delenia and Lance Taufaasau.

Years later, it the early state-tournament era, Waimea scored some big upsets of Oahu teams, all at Vidinha Stadium: 20-18 over Kailua in 1999, 41-20 over Castle in 2001, and 24-21 over Kailua in 2002.

Another biggie came in the preseason in 2000, when the Menehunes upended Punahou 21-13 at Hanapepe Stadium.

And there’s one more that needs a little help from the library. It was 1991 at Hanapepe Stadium. Waimea defeated Punahou in the preseason, but it’s not listed on Hawaii Prep World. Or maybe the memory is playing tricks.

In that 1991 season, Kauai High — with Taylor Shigemoto at running back, Sterling Carvalho at quarterback and Bill Arakaki as the head coach — captured the Kauai Interscholastic Federation championship for the first time since 1980 and advanced to the now-defunct Neighbor Islands Football Championship playoffs.

Arakaki is now the Kauai district superintendent of schools.

Carvalho, now a Kahuku JV coach, spent many years as an assistant for the Waialua and Kahuku varsity squads.

The way that 1991 KIF championship went down has a bit of history to it as well. The Raiders and Menehunes played in the season finale and finished in a tie in the final standings at 4-2. As soon as the final game ended, Harold Naumu, the stadium announcer, told the crowd that both teams were co-champions and that they would line up for a tiebreaker to determine which team would go to the NIFC playoffs.

Kauai won that tiebreaker 7-0 and since then has been generally regarded — if not officially — as the KIF champions that year.

And now on to some other notebook-clearing stuff:

>> I do not know the exact circumstances surrounding Alan Akina‘s suspension as head coach of the Kahuku boys basketball team. It’s being reported that he played favoritism toward his sons, parents complained and the administration acted. Well, I do know that his oldest son, Keanu Akina, was a top shooter last season.

And while I don’t know if Akina was right or wrong, I can say that, in general, it strikes me as odd that parents can get a coach removed (at least temporarily) due to X’s and O’s, playing time and who is shooting the basketball.

There is speculation that the suspension was due instead to a possible violation by Akina, when he brought up his younger son, Kawika Akina, and another player from the JV squad.

The facts will play out. It’s possible that somehow the parents and players (who boycotted a game prior to the coach’s suspension) have every right to decide who gets the ball.

Akina said he is suing.

And in case anyone is wondering, the Department of Education does not give out information freely about matters of this sort, citing legal issues of privacy.

This law-based thinking, however, can lead to only one side of the story getting told fairly and accurately.

Many times, instead of getting the DOE’s side (or a particular school’s side), we write, “Did not comment due to privacy issues.”

In this case, Paul Honda covered the story for Hawaii Prep World when it broke on Dec. 29 and he did a great job finding unnamed sources who were willing to cooperate:

Still, from a newspaper reporter’s point of view, a statement from Kahuku or the DOE on exactly why they are making the suspension would clarify the situation instead of clouding it. But a law is a law, I guess.

In another recent case of a head coach being suspended, Simon Bitanga of the Kaiser girls basketball team, an unnamed source was necessary to get the story told. Still, it has not been reported exactly what Bitanga is being investigated for other than the general terms “conduct” and “civil rights.”

In another case last fall, the real reason head coach David Baldwin of the Hilo football team was put on indefinite leave has never been reported. Apparently, it’s another situation of an investigation due to ongoing complaints by parents. About what? We don’t know the official reason, but there is speculation it is about his conduct.

There’s more. Steve Morton of the Baldwin High softball team said he was fired during last season (right before an appearance at the state tournament) for texting something to the effect that maybe the team shouldn’t go to states if the players can’t stop bickering with each other.

Another “unnamed source” at that time said Morton’s actions constituted cyberbullying, the parents complained to the administration and he was — in those parents’ minds — successfully removed.

The term “fired” would not have been used by the media had Morton not used it in a Maui News story. The DOE and Baldwin High administrators never confirmed that he was actually fired.

>> It’s not spring yet, but here’s a little baseball for you. Pac-Five advertised for a new coach and found one. Athletic director Peter Estomago, who took the applications, said the Wolfpack has hired Dennis Fukunaga, last year’s coach.


  1. Hahashandah January 5, 2016 3:22 pm

    You missed the current reigning state champ coach Alika Smith, wasn’t he just recently given certain stipulations that he was to follow and decided instead to step down… That sounds familiar of the Akina situation except I don’t remember people badmouthing the kids, parents, community of Kalaheo? Oh and of course he decided against suing, he went to look for another job elsewhere that he could be utilized.

  2. Mahatma Gandhi January 5, 2016 3:49 pm

    Hahashandah, I hate to see that happen. No coach gets into it so he can play his kid. Nor does any coach do it for the $$$. All the time they put in, and make so little money. And the coaches got to put up with stuff like this. Auwe.

  3. hilife January 5, 2016 4:04 pm

    Hahashandah I suggest you go to Alan Akina’s facebook page and see what he has to say about this situation. It will give you a better understanding of where he is coming from.

  4. Hahashandah January 5, 2016 6:53 pm

    My comment is less about Akina and more in regards to so many comments/coverage of Kahukus dirty laundry. Why so little about Kalaheo and trash talking about those kids, parents, admin and community (I’m not saying there should be… I am making an observation that there shouldn’t be so much trash talk about Kahuku’s). Obviously there were people who disagreed with Coach Smith and he won it all last year. It doesn’t get better than that.

  5. Pollster January 6, 2016 2:36 pm

    The situations between Coach Smith & Coach Akina are quite different. It’s hard to draw parallels between the two. I believe the OIA (DOE) doesn’t offer a new 1 year contract to the Basketball Coaches until a little while before the season ends. I believe the contract ends after the state tournament. Coach Smith was possibly out of season and not under contract. From what I have been told, Coach Akina is currently under contract and was put on “suspension” during season. I think that is why he is trying to file a wrongful termination suit. I read that he is suspended. If he is suspended and not fired, I don’t believe he can file a wrongful termination suit. Based on what has been disclosed in the community and media (assuming it is correct) I believe he can sue for defamation of character, possibly libel, and possibly punitive damages. It would be hard to prove damages though. So I see the best he can get is his coaching job back.

    For Coach Smith, I was told that before his new coaching contract was to be finalized there were coaching stipulations they wanted him to adhere to. I don’t think he agreed with the rules set forth for him so he decided not to accept the contract and decided to go elsewhere.

    As you can see the two are not similar at all, other than both coaches are no longer coaching at the schools they were at last year.

  6. Pollster January 6, 2016 2:39 pm

    I believe the reason why there is so much backlash towards Kahuku and not as much against Kalaheo is I have rarely seen anyone talk much about Kalaheo. But assuming that people are being truthful, many people come on here talking about Kahuku. If you have more representation the topics will be more static. You hardly see anything written about Kaiser, Kailua, Nanakuli, Waianae, etc. But if they had a lot of posters on this site from those areas you would notice a large spike in the topics regarding those respective schools.

  7. Pollster January 6, 2016 2:39 pm

    I agree with you Mahatma Ghandi.

  8. Hahashandah January 6, 2016 3:41 pm

    @Pollster using your point of making them different. Your determination seems to be that Coach Smith was out of contract, Coach Akina was in contract. The similarity that I saw was that both had kids/parents unhappy, both kids/parents took their complaints to the admin, both admins decided to give the Coach stipulations in order to be the coach the following year… Then how the coaches went from there differ.

    I agree with your thoughts on the why there are more Kahuku comments.

  9. Pollster January 7, 2016 10:54 am


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